9 April 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Irish welterweight champion Stephen Haughian moved a step closer to a mouth-watering Commonwealth title challenge against fellow Irishman John ODonnell after the duo both recorded victories on Saturday night.
London-born ODonnell, 21-1, picked up the Commonwealth strap with a split decision victory over defending champion Craig Watson, 13-3, in the main even at the York Hall, whilst Lurgan native Haughian improved his ledger to 18-1 with a first-round stoppage of the overmatched Drew Campbell on the undercard.
ODonnell had to work hard for his victory, coming through the wars to pick up the title at Watsons expense.
Watson, who famously put Amir Khan on the seat of his pants as an amateur, started the brighter of the two but, as the thrilling fight progressed, it was 23-year-old ODonnell who grew in stature picking up a deserved split-decision points victory.
The natural fight now is a match-up with Haughian most likely as chief support on the undercard of Paul McCloskey and Junior Witters proposed EBU light-welterweight title clash in June.
If all looks rosy for ODonnell and Haughian, the same cannot be said for fellow Irishman Peter McDonagh, who was outpointed in an English title challenge by Lenny Daws.