Battle of Brownlow report

JUNE 26 Staff Reporter

The life of a boxing promoter is anything but easy. If debutant David Murphy didn’t realise that before running his ‘Battle at Brownlow’ show then he certainly will do now. Luckily Murphy managed to pull it off and run a good value seven-fight card at the Craigavon Leisure Centre on Saturday June 25.

Headline attraction Stephen Haughian last graced this arena in 2009 when the 26-year-old stopped Cork’s Billy Walsh in three rounds for the Irish welterweight title. Murphy tried to pitch him in a defence of that belt against Jeff Thomas on this bill but Jeff suffered an injury, as did Haughian’s gym mate Willie Thompson when he stepped in to fill the gap. Jay Morris briefly jumped in and then out, before Polish punchbag Arek Malek accepted the gig. He was never likely to trouble classy Haughian who used his left jab and sharp combinations to rack up the points en route to a 60-54 victory.

Enjoying his first fight on Irish soil Eamon O’Kane had his hands full with Tommy Tolan over six-threes. Tolan was last seen getting sparked out by Tony Jeffries in his native Belfast. After withdrawing from the recent IPBA show in Galway (which was cancelled anyway) Tolan found himself in with the man some see as the next golden boy of Irish boxing. More work is needed if that prediction is to reach fruition, however, as O’Kane neglected his jab in a bid to remove Tolan’s head. To be fair, that head was mostly stuck in O’Kane’s face, butting and probing as Tommy bulled forward, dropping his body and grabbing Eamon’s arms, in messy clinches.

A tasty body shot slowed Tolan in the fourth round and he sagged into the ropes for respite. His clinching tactics, coupled with O’Kane’s inaccuracy, enabled the veteran to see out the round. O’Kane needs to get a move on as he turned pro late -following a brief stint in the World Series of Boxing- but some more learning fights are needed before he is truly let off the leash.

Jamie Conlan is past journeyman stage and ready to test himself against the best in Britain. A fight with fellow Belfast boxer Luke Wilton looks further away than ever but a win on Frank Maloney’s show in May should have pushed Jamie into the frame and he would fancy his chances with Chris Edwards or Ashley Sexton. Conlan went through the motions a little here, understandably so, outscoring Delroy Spencer over six rounds. Del smiled his way to another points reverse with Jamie never looking likely to send him home early.

Damien Taggart brought his usual band of fervent support from Omagh and did not disappoint the travelling fraternity, outlasting Giuseppe Daprato over four-threes. Stranraer’s Daprato was game and not prepared to surrender his unbeaten slate easily. Taggart always ends up in a war and this fight was no different. Both took plenty of leather but it was Daprato who slowed late on. He managed to hear the final bell and only won a share of one round on referee Paul McCullagh’s score sheet, going down 40-37.

Tall Belfast lightweight Mark Ginley got his second win since turning pro recently. The Gleann youngster topped ‘Rockin’ Robin Deakin of Crawley 60-54. Rangy Ginley used his tools to keep Deakin at bay and the away man offered little more than plenty of bravado and some impressive footwork. It was neat and tidy throughout for the home fighter who coasted home.

Marc McCullough stopped Eddie Nesbitt in the fight of the night, between two men making their debuts. Cairn Lodge product McCullough has relocated to John Breen’s gym and former Lodge star Stephen Kirk looked on as the latest hope pummelled Nesbitt to defeat in front of some passionate support. Nesbitt was rocked in the opener and his wide blows were too predictable for McCullough who slotted his replies down the pipe. Eddie turned his back in the second round and the referee was slow to intervene, allowing McCullough to blast away. When Paul McCullagh did jump in he inexplicably pushed them back together again. Marc reined in more hurt until referee McCullagh’s father -Paul Snr, who bizarrely was working Nesbitt’s corner- stepped up to the apron and called time.

Former amateur achiever Bobby George, a Bulgarian plying his trade in England, beat durable Billy Smith over the six round distance. The talented Eastern European has been grossly inactive and needs to get a move on if he is to do anything in the paid ranks. The life of a boxing promoter is anything but easy. If debutant David Murphy didn’t realise that before running his ‘Battle at Brownlow’ show then he certainly will do now. Luckily Murphy managed to pull it off and run a good value seven-fight card at the Craigavon Leisure Centre on Saturday June 25.

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