Monday, November 9, 2009

British Scene Weekend Recap: McCloskey & Sexton Win in Northern Ireland

Matt Chudley recaps this past weekend's British boxing action.

Friday saw mixed fortunes for two of Northern Irelands most popular fighters as Paul McCloskey claimed the European Light-Welterweight title in Magherafelt, while Martin Rogan failed to regain the Commonwealth Heavyweight title less than 40 miles away in Belfast.

First to enter the ring on the night was McCloskey, who found himself in a favourable matchup against Daniel Rasilla for the European strap after champion Souleymane M'Baye withdrew less than two weeks before.

Giving away 3 inches in height to the Spaniard, McCloskey swept the first three rounds with the greater volume and accuracy as he bobbed and weaved from side to side in his customary style to avoid the oncoming. Renowned for his sharp reflexes, the local fighter’s quicker hands allowed him to fire out a more authoritative range finder, as he managed to out-jab the taller Spaniard in the early going, while showing more pop as well.

In the 4th, a slightly discouraged Rasilla started to open up, and McCloskey responded by bringing his right hook into play, briefly stunning Rasilla at the back end of the round.

Unable to cause any serious punishment with Rasilla pressed up against the ropes on a couple of occasions in the 5th and 6th rounds, the Dungiven southpaw became more patient in his approach and looked to pick Rasilla apart as opposed to pressuring him.

McCloskey's patience was rewarded in the 9th when he caught his wide open opponent with a short counter right on the inside that put the man from Santander down. With plenty of time left in the round, McCloskey missed with a few wild uppercuts before catching Rasilla coming in again, this time with a straight left. The second knockdown prompted Rasilla's handlers to enter the ring and save him from any further punishment.

Improving to 20(10)-0, McCloskey can now look forward to bigger fights against the likes of Junior Witter, Souleymane M'Baye and Andreas Kotelnik, who all occupy the upper echelons of the European rankings.

Another possibility for the Matchroom Sport fighter is a clash with the winner of Matchroom’s December 4th edition of the prizefighter tournament which features 140lb fighters, 3 of which are already ranked by the EBU.

Over in Belfast, Martin Rogan once again found himself at a packed out Odyssey arena despite a much less stellar supporting cast than his last visit. Spurred on by his massive support, he came out more aggressively than the previous fight and tried to throw a barrage of hooks to the body of Sexton, who had seemed to have some stamina issues last time out.

With Rogan wanting to work on the inside, the 25 year old champion did his best to hamper the action in close by holding, while trying to keep the fight at longer range where he could use his snappy jab and straighter punches.

The best punch of the early going was a solid right from Sexton in the 3rd which stunned Rogan, but Sexton noticeably slowed down in the next two rounds. An overhand right in close quarters shook him in the 5th, but Rogan smothered much of his follow up attack, and the 38 year old challenger was unable to capitalise.

After composing himself in the interval, Sexton settled back into the contest with his trusty jab and began to catch Rogan with right hands as the 6th wore on. The closing moments of the round saw a despondent Rogan with his hands low and his head bowed.

After returning to his corner with a look of resignation, trainer Paul McCullough was left with little choice but to pull his fighter after a distant Rogan offered nothing back, later citing an arm injury.

With the loss, it looks like Rogan's unlikely run in the heavyweight division may have come to an end. If that’s the case, it’s still fairly remarkable what he’s been able to accomplish after turning pro at 33 years of age.

With the contest doubling as a British title eliminator, Sexton can look forward to challenging an old and shop worn Danny Williams for the Lonsdale belt next.

On the under-cards...

On the undercard in Magherafelt, British featherweight champ Martin Lindsay improved to 15-0 with an 8 round shutout of Ghanian Alfred Tetteh, while the 22 year old Barry McGuigan managed 122lb prospect Carl Frampton advanced to 3-0 with a third round stoppage win over 1-6-2 Hungarian Ignac Kassai.

In Belfast, local favourite and former WBO welterweight challenger Neil Sinclair (33-7) dispatched 38 year old Hungarian Janos Petrovics (18-29) with a vicious body attack, eventually forcing the referee’s stoppage in the 4th round.

e-mail Matt Chudley


tetrarchy said...

Did you know that Errol Christie, the 1980s middleweight boxer, is publishing his biography next year - called No Place To Hide. Found out it's already on the Tesco, Watersone's and Amazon websites. I've been told that it's gonna blow the lid off the 80s boxing scene.