05 December 2008 – By Mark Doyle
Paul McCloskey announced himself as a genuine light-welterweight star by claiming the British title with a stunning victory over Colin Lynes in Dagenham on Friday night.
After a slow start, the elusive and highly-skilled Northern Irishman took complete control of the bout from the third round on, landing regularly with stinging uppercuts and vicious body shots, and it came as no surprise when Lynes quit on his stool at the end of the ninth.
Former European champion Lynes looked menacing in the early exchanges and rocked McCloskey with a terrific one-two combination in the second round. However, while the left was a powerful shot, the follow-up right was merely a glancing blow and, after a slight wobble, McCloskey quickly regained his composure and saw the round out.
It was a McCloskey masterclass thereafter. The best-kept secret in boxing dismantled his opponent, his unorthodox style a puzzle that Lynes simply could not work out.
McCloskey’s jab kept Lynes at bay and when the Englishman did step, time and time again he was caught flush with beautifully-timed uppercuts.
By the seventh round, a spritely McCloskey was in full flow, showing off his wide range of skill; he was clearly enjoying himself. His penchant for keeping his hands so low down meant that there was always a concern that one solid punch from Lynes could alter the course of the fight – but it was only a minor concern, such was McCloskey’s dominance.
Lynes appeared utterly bamboozled by McCloskey and was growing increasingly weary and increasingly frustrated at being unable to get anyway near the undefeated southpaw, whose incredible speed and terrific movement was a joy to behold.
Lynes was generating no forward momentum. In fact, he was going backwards, being constantly pushed back onto the ropes and actually fell through them at one point. Fortunately for him, the referee did not rule his fall as a knockdown.
But there was to be no respite for Lynes and he appeared in real danger of being knocked out when McCloskey unloaded a flurry of punches in the eighth, all of which found their target.
At the end of the round, Lynes’ corner were asking their man for one more round and threatening to throw in the towel. The writing was very much on the wall.
After the ninth, another round dominated by McCloskey, Lynes returned to his corner and told his team, ‘I can’t do it. I’ve given all I’ve got.’ McCloskey, the undefeated Dungiven native whom many have long believed is destined for big things, was the new British light-welterweight champion – and a secret no more.