10 April 2010 – By Steve Wellings
It was a mixed night for Irish boxers in Canada on Thursday April 8 as Limerick puncher Willie Casey splattered the unbeaten record of touted local Tyson Cave, while Michael Kelly lost his first pro bout.
Dropping the flashy prospect twice, Casey battered Caves body until the referee called a halt in the eighth and final round.
The third round knockdown I scored gave me the confidence to push on and I pressured him from then on and stopped him gaining any sort of rhythm in the fight, an understandably delighted Casey told Irish-boxing.com.
The contest was initially slated for six rounds but Willie and trainer Phil Sutcliffe happily agreed to a late switch to eight, feeling the 28-year-old southpaw would benefit from a longer distance.
When youre fighting a slick mover, sometimes you need these extra rounds to work them down, he said.
We wanted an eight-rounder all along even though it was originally down for six. It worked in my favour although I was still confident of stopping him over six rounds. The stoppage guaranteed my win because you never know how the judges are seeing it.
There are still a few things we need to work on of course but overall it was a great experience. I had only seen brief video clips of Tyson before this fight. He was fast like we had expected and had good movement; it was hard to get him into the corner as he was pretty slick.
Talk of a crack at the Irish title will inevitably gather pace now that Willie has now completed the stipulated eight round distance.
Im eligible for the Irish title but I think well maybe have another eight-rounder first, he calmly admitted. I definitely want to fight on the May 29 DolPhil show in Dublin.
Im over-the-moon with Willies performance because Cave was a bit tougher than we thought he would be, added Phil Sutcliffe.
We have the Irish title in mind but I want to get a couple of fights in before that. Don OLeary is working on the next fight already and were still running a show on May 29 but possibly in another venue other than the City West. Were checking out a place in Dublin that holds 1,000 people.
Whilst one half of the visiting team enjoyed a successful evening, Dundalk lightweight Michael Kelly suffered the first defeat of his stop-start career as 31-year-old Ontario native Buzz Grant outscored him over ten rounds.
Despite Grant being on a six-fight winning streak, that included a Canadian super-bantamweight title victory, Kelly felt he should have had too much for his 9-3 opponent.
It just didnt go right for me, lamented Michael, I didnt turn up and Buzz Grant isnt that great, I should have dropped him in two or three rounds. I got the full ten rounds under my belt but I never should have lost to the likes of Grant.
Despite the away assignment, Kelly had Belfast trainer John Breen working the corner as usual.
Michaels timing was off and Grant was a good mover, agreed Breen, every time we thought wed cut him down he was off again. Training had gone fine; he was prepared for ten rounds.
I enjoyed coming out to Canada, continued Breen, and its important to get the lads some work. Michael needs to be fighting more often a couple of fights in a year are not enough, he needs more activity.
Kelly concurred, I want to stay active and it was good to have a familiar face in my corner. I would certainly take a rematch if it was on offer.