05 July 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Jamie Moore claimed the Irish light-middleweight title with an impressive third-round stoppage of a game Ciaran Healy at the National Basketball Arenav in Tallaght on Saturday night.
The Salford-born fighter, whose mother hails from Kilkenny, turned in a commanding performance on his first outing on these shores, boxing patiently in the early exchanges as he allowed a fired-up Healy, who, judging by his physique, had clearly trained supremely hard for what he himself had called ‘the biggest fight of his life’, to pour forward.
However, while Healy’s workrate was impressive, and he repeatedly backed Moore up on to the ropes as he unleashed punch after punch, he never truly hurt the challenger.
And midway through the second round there was a noticeable change in the flow of the fight. Without looking in trouble, it seemed that Healy suddenly began to feel the weight and power of Moore’s shots.
Indeed, the challenge had decided that the time was right to take command of the bout and began to force to issue.
As a result, there was an air of inevitability about the first knockdown, which came towards the end of the second, Moore, world-class operator that he is, rocking the champion with a succession of shots from all angles before forcing him to the canvas with a debilitating body punch which was followed up by a sharp left as Healy touched down.
Healy hauled himself back up off the canvas and survived the round but Moore, unsurprisingly, did not relent in the third and dropped Healy again with another cracking shot to the ribs.
Quite how Healy managed to summon up the will to rise to his feet after that sickening blow, only he will know. Such was the ferocity of the punch, he would have been fully entitled to stay down but, proud warrior that he is, he got back up again, impressing everyone in attendance with his resolve and bravery as he did so.
The end was nigh, though, and he must have known that. Moore charged forward and ended the fight – and Healy’s brief reign as Irish light-middleweight champion – with a another vicious shot to the ribs.
It was an emphatic finish from Moore, who, it has to be said, was always likely to prove himself a cut above Healy and, for the new Irish champion, attention turns to the European title and a bout with Zaurbek Baysangurov.
Should he win that, however, a mouth-watering clash with John Duddy will become a very live and, on this evidence, a very attractive possibility.
On the undercard, meanwhile, Kiko Martinez turned in a distinctly underwhelming performance in his clash with Lante Addy.
Of course, on his last outing in Dublin, Martinez dethroned Bernard Dunne as European super-bantamweight champion in devastating fashion, the Spaniard stopping the Irishman out in just 86 seconds.
However, Martinez subsequently lost the title after a rather tame and listless display against Rendall Munroe.
Consequently, Saturday night was all about re-establishing his reputation as a dangerous fighter of exceptional power. Kiko did not achieve that goal, however, El Sensacion labouring his way to a 78-76 points win over an unquestionably durable – but very limited – opponent.
Martinez was made to look one-dimensional throughout. He continually looked for the punch which was going to end the fight and when that did not work… well, he went looking again.
Addy, unsurprisingly, grew in confidence as the fight wore on, catching Martinez clean quite a few times down the stretch. However, the Ghanaian ultimately had neither the class nor the power to record a shock win.
What Addy did do, however, was make Martinez an even more attractive proposition for Dunne, who must feel that his defeat last year was merely an aberration and one that will be easily avenged if he so desires.
Of course, if Dunne would rather a competitive domestic dust-up as he continues his quest for a world title he should look no further than Paul Hyland, who claimed the vacant Irish super-bantamweight title with a mightily impressive showing in his points win over Marc Callaghan in arguably the fight of the night.
Referee David Irving scored the fight 98-93 in favour of the 23-year-old from Tallaght, who demonstrated impressive movement and fantastic hand speed against a very awkward and creditable opponent.
It was a hugely successful night for the Hylands all round, as Paul’s brother, 24-year-old featherweight Patrick, took his record to 13-0 with a comfortable points win over Geoffrey Munika.
Elsewhere, there were stoppage wins for Jonathan O’Brien and Michael Sweeney in their respective bouts with Anghel Florin and Stan Catalin.
Gary O’Sullivan, meanwhile, was taken the full six rounds in his clash with the ever durable Eugen Stan, but ‘Spike’ claimed a comfortable points win.