Debutants have ball in Belfast

9 May 2010 – By Cormac Campbell

Four local boxers made their debuts at Saturdays bill in Belfasts Holiday Inn and it proved to be a successful venture as Ryan Greene, Paul Kayes, Brian Cusack and Paddy McGarritty all recorded victories.

Indeed Lurgan puncher Greene stole the show with a display of raw punching power and aggression against Englishman Ryan Clark.

Despite a bizarre beginning to the contest, which saw the house lights go down just as the first bell rang, southpaw Greene started hostilities at breakneck speed and midway through the round a looping left sent Clark through the ropes and onto the laps of BBBC officials Hugh Russell and John Campbell. Stunned rather than hurt Clark regained composure but Greene who appeared to have shifted a sizeable number of tickets – was ready to pounce. Pummelling his opponent with a pistonlike combination on the ropes, the former HML and Dockers amateur star looked set to end proceedings.

Somehow Clark shipped the blows and fought back. But the amount of blood that was spat into his bucket during the interval indicated that some level of damage had been done. In the second Clarks nose began bleeding but he was warming to the task.

Understandably Greenes pace dropped but guess what? he can box a bit as well. Sharp one-twos kept Greene in the ascendancy. That said, his defence requires significant work, his face after the contest was a mask of nicks, scratches and bruises. Clark landed regular heavy blows but Greene kept walking forward.

The crowd was in raptures so much so that neither boxer heard the bell to end the second round and kept punching.

Things settled somewhat in the third and fourth leaving Greene a deserved 38-37 points victory. Quite how far the light-middleweight can go is debatable but expect him to become a cult favourite and staple crowd pleaser in the next 12 months.

Saturdays bill, which was staged by Belfast Promotions, kicked off with former Immaculata clubman Brian Cusack outboxing Englishman James Tucker. Cusack looks a good addition to the Irish light-heavyweight scene and certainly showed enough ringcraft to push towards a national title shot within the next 18 months.

Boxing orthodox, Cusack commanded the centre of the ring from the opening bell and worked Tuckers body well. His shots appeared solid and well directed and his conditioning was impressive. On the downside, Cusack regularly crowded his work on the way in and also neglected his defence when unloading.

At the end of four rounds the Belfastman was value for a 39-37 points win (Tucker was awarded the third round). Indeed, most observers at ringside believed a shutout 40-36 decision was a more appropriate reflection of the bout.

Light-flyweight Paul Kayes looked exciting as he battled game Frenchman Nourredine Dahou over four high paced rounds. From the outset, Downpatrick native Kayes, who is boxing out of the Eastside camp, took a proactive approach to events. Peppering his opponent with a mix of rangy jabs, hooks and uppercuts it looked set to be an easy night until the tail end of the opening round. Carrying his left hand a little too low throughout the contest, Kayes was caught flush with a hard right hand. He took it well, but a little more attention to defence would ensure that he is not taking such shots at all.

Dahou looked sharper in the second. Piling on the aggression, he pushed Kayes from pillar to post, forcing the Irishman to box off the back foot. In the third Kayes looked stronger, digging his heels into the canvas and refusing to budge. By the fourth both men had visibly tired, heavy shots were traded with Kayes enjoying the better of exchanges.

Domestically, Kayes may have to add some weight to his long, slender frame if he is to secure regular contests that or concede poundage to opponents.

There was also success for super-featherweight Paddy McGarritty who overcame the ultra negative Englishman Dan Carr by a score of 40-36. McGarritty did his best to work cleanly, but Carrs regular bouts of holding made the bout a truly dismal spectacle. A win is a win, but McGarrity will undoubtedly be hoping for a more obliging opponent next time out.

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