21 November 2009 – By Steve Wellings
Cuban bantamweight Alexei Acosta put aside the disappointment of an aborted WBA International title crack by stopping Pontefracts Sean Hughes in two rounds, on Friday night.
An appreciative Belfast crowd, at the Holiday Inn, witnessed the raw promise that the 21-year-old possesses. This win improved his record to 9-0 (9 KOs).
Using rapid fire combinations and plenty of movement, Acosta sought to cut the ring down to prevent Hughes – a fleet-footed southpaw – from trying to outbox him at range. When the ending did come, it was perhaps a touch premature, although David Irving clearly did not like the way Acosta was bullying his opponent to the ropes and teeing off with flurries of shots. Given Hughes vast experience at a higher level, he could perhaps have been offered more time to respond; but as the old boxing adage reminds us, its always better too early than too late.
Cork-based manager Gary Hyde, of Nowhere to Hyde promotions, was understandably delighted with his charges work.
“I thought it was excellent, the kid he was fighting was a very good opponent, who we knew was going to have a go,” Hyde stated immediately after the contest, before letting Acosta voice his approval in broken English.
So whats next for the Cork-based Cuban? “First we will take a rest and relax for a couple of months hes been very busy for the last four months and now has nine wins, with nine KOs so were going to take it easy and hopefully come back early in the new year. Alexei will be fighting in the States in February.”
Acosta is now training full-time in Belfasts Kronk gym under the tutelage of Tony Dunlop, providing quality sparring for Alan Wiltons Eastside team. Hyde insisted that Ireland will remain the spiritual home of all three Cubans despite plans to fight in America. “Luis and Mike are just in between trainers so Nicholas Cruz is training them at the moment – they are both on top form. You will see a fantastic performance from Luis Garcia on the 5th December (Matthew Macklin undercard) guaranteed.”
Local interest saw flyweight hope Luke Wilton (son of show promoters Alan and Jane) take just 40 seconds to see off hapless Latvian Muharem Osmanov.
Body shots removed the visitor and Luke was slightly annoyed that he had not offered more resilience, but thanked the fans for their support. 21-year-old ‘Winky’ is now 6-2-1 (2 KOs) and eyeing a British title shot.
In a super-featherweight rematch, popular East Belfast novice Michael Harvey was beaten for the second time by Michael Devine of Luton.
The two had met in the summer with Devine recovering from an early setback to stop Harvey in three rounds. This time he needed only two, as identical right hands deposited the 24-year-old to the canvas , with the second one prompting David Irving (who refereed all six bouts on the night) to call a halt. Harvey was understandably distraught, but with more experience and some defensive tweaking he could yet improve.
Ballymenas Niall Diamond and Lutons Gavin Putney went hammer and tongs for four rounds before Diamond was stopped from a combination of exhaustion and Putneys well placed hooks.
There were mixed performances for the McDonaghs, as both made their professional debuts. JJ, a promising super-middleweight, was the pick of the duo as he ripped through Jevgenis Kiselevs in one round, while Paddy labored at times in defeating Grigor Sarohanian over 4x3s; 39-37 was the winning margin.