16 August 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Ireland’s Darren Sutherland stormed into the last eight of the middleweight category in Beijing with a stunning stoppage of Algeria’s Nabil Kassel on Saturday.
Sutherland actually trailed by a point [9-10] at the midway point of what proved a thrilling contest in which both men were willing to let their hands go.
However, by the end of the third it appeared that Kassel, now a point behind, was really starting to feel the effects of Sutherland’s devastating punching power. Indeed, it had been evident from very early on that Sutherland was the stronger man as Kassel was forced to take a knee towards the end of the first after being on the receiving end of a vicious left hand.
Kassel did manage to level the bout at 14 points apiece shortly after the start of the final stanza but Sutherland edged back in front with a straight right before a lightning quick one-two saw him pull three points clear.
The DCU student was now landing at will – particularly with his awesome left hand – and a fearsome left-hook, right-hook combination left Kassel stumbling back towards the ropes.
The Algerian was out on his feet but was amazingly allowed to continue. Sutherland pounced on him again and two more left hooks finally finished the job with just over four seconds of the contest remaining.
Sutherland will now battle it out with the very dangerous Venezuelan, Alfonso Blanco Parra, who defeated the Irishman 20-13 on his way to winning a silver in last year’s World Championships in Chicago.