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Tony Browne and Keane McMahon BEATEN IN BELGIUM but Ryan O’Rourke scores strong win

It was a mixed evening for Irish fighters in Belgium today with three wins from five on the ‘All Eyez on Brussels 2’ card.

Tony Browne and Keane McMahon suffered disappointing defeats to tough BeNeLux opposition but there were impressive wins for Ryan O’Rourke, John Cooney, and Christian Preston.

Headlining the night, McMahon took on home favourite Anass Messaoudi and put it up to the Belgian golden boy but was eventually done in by bodyshots. Minutes previously, a flat Browne had been outpointed by awkward Dutch kickboxer Chico Kwasi.

It was a sad end to an evening that had began brightly with Dublin welter Preston downing his Polish opponent, a late replacement, after just four seconds for a dream debut win.

This was followed up swiftly by a relentless performance from super feather Cooney, ripping through former Belgian champ Angelo Turco. The strong London-born Galwegian grew as the six rounder progressed and almost had Turco out in the final stanza. Much like when Turco fought Niall O’Connor, one judge somehow saw the bout against the Irishman, 56-58, but was overruled by a 59-55 and 58-56 in favour of Cooney who moves to 5(1)-0.

Taking a step up against the game Wilson Mendes, O’Rourke looked sensationally strong, beating up his teak-tough opponent on the outside and bullying him on the inside over eight rounds – and almost closing the show with a big finish. The ability of the ‘Silent Assassin’ to keep snap on his punches into the deeper rounds is seriously impressive and the light welterweight’s record now reads 8(2)-0.

Next up against was Browne and he found it difficult to get inside the long levers of the incredibly awkward Kwasi. A knockdown should have been scored in the Dublin light heavyweight’s favour in a testy round four but it likely wouldn’t have made much of a difference to the rather wide 79-73, 78-74, 77-75 scorecards. It’s a setback for former top amateur Browne, now 5(1)-1(0), whose early career has been typified by tough outings. Bloodied early and just three weeks after his previous fight, things did not click tonight for ‘Super Fly’ but a rematch, especially considering the animosity in the ring, is definitely appealing.

Then it was the turn of McMahon who, in a tiny ring, took the first against former WSB fighter Messaoudi off the jab but the powerful Belgian began to break him down soonafter. McMahon did stand and trade but was undone by left hooks to the body in the fifth and, following two trips to the canvas, didn’t emerge for round six. The Dublin light middle now drops to 6(3)-2(1).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie