BBN are reporting live from ringside at #MTKFightNight at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, as unbeaten Jay Harris and world title contender Paddy Barnes headline the bumper event, broadcast live in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank and worldwide on iFL TV.
'The Croc' opened the show with a real back and forth affair with a South Londoner who clearly travels well and Cully followed up with flamboyancy and flair very soon after. Read the full reports below:
Welterweight, 6 Rounds
LEWIS CROCKER W PTS OHIO KAIN IREMIREN
Heavy-handed 22-year-old Belfast welter Crocker (10-0) stopped his first six opponents, but since stepping up to six-rounders and facing experienced and winning fighters, namely former Southern Area titlist Jumanne Camero (7-5), he has been forced to go the distance in his previous three outings and he was once again taken to the final bell by Eltham’s 23-year-old Ohio Kain Iremiren (4-2-2), who had lost just once in seven outings and you could see why, as he was an experienced and game fighter with ringcraft.
He managed to avoid a lot of the home fighter's damage, catching hooks on his gloves, and took the fight to a close points decision, without ever looking in real danger, scored at 58-56 for Crocker.
Crocker said: “He was a tough opponent who kept coming forward and those are the fights I ideally want. “We know what to work on for next time and now hopefully we can push for another fight before the end of the year.”
Lightweight, 6 Rounds
GARY CULLY vs. DANNY MENDOZA
Unbeaten Cully (8-0), 23 from Naas in Ireland, goes up against his third winning fighter in a row as he clashes with Nicaraguan Danny Mendoza (6-4), also 23.
The southpaw was taller and rangier than his significantly shorter opponent as he kept him at range, throwing shots from his hips and pulling out the Ali shuffle on many occasions. Cully was caught at times but his flambouyant style was a delight to watch.
The heavily tattoed Cully won comfortably on the cards at 60-54.
Cully said: “I had six months out so I’m buzzing just to get back in the ring. I was a bit nervous but once I started getting the jabs off I felt fine. I really did enjoy it and started using my feet and working through the gears, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Middleweight, 6 Rounds
CONRAD CUMMINGS vs. ADAM GRABIEC
Conrad ‘Dynamite’ Cummings (16-3-1), 28 from NI’s Coalisland, conceded his WBO European middleweight title to rival Luke Keeler (15-2-1) in his last fight, which was his second defeat at the hands of the Dubliner.
In his first fight back, he met with Poland’s Grabiec (7-27), 35, a former Baltic super-welterweight titlist, who was down for a long time midway through the bout complaining of a low blow and was allowed sufficient time to recover. He was decked again with a body shot from 'Dynamite' in the penultimate round, which prompted his corner to throw in the towel, unbeknown to referee Hugh Russell Jr. who continued regardless until he belatedly spied the towel and promptly kicked it back to the corner, which allowed the distressed Pole to hear the final bell. Cummings won 59-54.
Cummings said: “It was good to get the rust off. Getting six rounds in is exactly what I needed after the time out, and it’s onwards and upwards. There were a lot of personal issues over the last 18 months, so just to be back in the ring is great, and now we’ll take it one step at a time.”
Super-featherweight, 4 Rounds
RUAIRI DALTON (Debut) vs. JOSE HERNANDEZ (4-37-1)
Belfast’s Dalton kicked off his paid career with a 40-36 win against Nicaraguan featherweight Jose Hernandez, 30, who took hot prospect Chris Bourke (5-0) the distance over six rounds in his last fight in September.
Dalton said: “I was happy to get the rounds in and I’d never fought in the Ulster Hall before, so it was a great place to box. I’ve got a great fan base and I’m very grateful to everybody who came to watch me, and I just need to stay active now.”
Welterweight, 6 rounds
PADDY DONOVAN vs. ARTURO LOPEZ
Limerick’s Patrick Donovan (1-0), 20, smashed it in his pro bow with first round KO over Mexican Lopez (5-14-3), nicknamed ‘Tarahumara’, which is the name for a language spoken by just 70,000 people in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. What a way to announce your presence in the pro scene!
Donovan said: “I trained hard for this fight and we had to do a job. The knockout came and I was glad. “There was a lot of pressure on me and a lot of talk about me, so I was really happy with the way that I got the win. I loved every second of it.”
Lightweight, 4 rounds
SEANIE DUFFY vs. EDWIN TELLEZ
Keady’s lightweight talent Sean Gerard Duffy (3-0) secured his hat trick with a win over the shorter but stony 25-year-old Nicaraguan Edwin Tellez (12-58-5). Duffy won 40-36 on the scorecards to move up to 3-0.
Duffy said: “I’ve had a good amateur career and now I want to jump straight in at the deep end in the professionals. I’m looking forward to stepping up to bigger and better things. Ulster Hall never fails, it was a brilliant atmosphere.”
Lightweight, 8 rounds
TERRY FLANAGAN (34-2) vs. MICHAEL ANSAH (17-9-2)
Former WBO world lightweight champion Terry ‘Turbo’ Flanagan met Ghanaian super-featherweight champion Michael Ansah, 29 from Accra, but the West African was cut short when he was disqualified in the fourth round for repeatedly ignoring the official and hitting after the break.
The 30-year-old Mancunian is still rebuilding following back to back defeats to WBO super-lightweight champ Maurice Hooker (23-0-3) as he attempted to become a two-divisional world champion in June last year, then he was knocked down and widely outpointed by the brilliant Regis Prograis (22-0), who clashes with Josh Taylor at the end of October in the WBSS super-lightweights final.
‘Turbo’ KO’d African champion Jonas Segu (19-8-2) in first fight back from that brace of reverses in July, his first fight all year, and the southpaw has another date in the diary for November 15 in Liverpool on an MTK Global card with Rocky Fielding, as he plans to return to big fights in 2020.
Flanagan said: “Another routine win really. He was an awkward kid who didn’t offer much and he was a level or two below me so it’s hard to look good against people like that. When I started landing with body shots and finding a way through he was looking for a way out. I was happy to box out here and put on a show for all of the fans.”
Super-Lightweight, 8 rounds
SEAN McCOMB (8-0) vs. EMILIANO RODRIGUEZ (23-5)
‘Sugar’ Sean McComb, 27 from Belfast, showed his mettle against the tough Frenchman Renald Garrido (24-24-3) in his last fight, who is an acid test for any up-and-coming fighter. The southpaw defeated the two-time French champion 79-73 on points in August on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s homecoming at Falls Park.
Now he steps up even further against IBO world title contender ‘La Cobrita’. The 30-year-old former WBC Latino super-lightweight champion’s record has been very checkered since the start of 2018, but his duo of wins this year both ended in third-round KO’s.
The traveling fighter put it on the home fighter from the opening bell. The pair went at it hammer and tongs for the full 24 minutes, which was pure entertainment for the onlookers.
Despite it being a 50-50 battle, with McComb constantly under pressure, the bout was deceptively scored at 79-73 for 'Sugar'. McComb did the better work but it was close and tense throughout.
Referring to both the fight and the crowd together, the winner said post-fight, "This is what it's about - entertainment. They [the crowd] gave me a second wind in there tonight."
McComb said: “I’m delighted with the win. Tough fight and a good one to overcome. I’m just beginning and he’s 24 fights in, and it was a massive learning curve. I stepped up a level again, and the crowd gave me life out there, it was like a second wind and the atmosphere was phenomenal.”
Bout 9 - Main Event
IBF Inter-Continental Flyweight Title - 12 rounds
PADDY BARNES vs. JAY HARRIS
Home fighter Paddy ‘The Leprechaun’ Barnes (6-2) headlined the Belfast show against unbeaten Commonwealth and European flyweight champion Jay Harris (16-0).
Former WBO European and Inter-Continental flyweight champion Barnes was halted in his tracks by Cristofer Rosales (27-3) in his WBC world flyweight title attempt by a right hook to the ribs in the fourth round. Disaster struck again in his comeback fight six months later in March this year as he was hurt by the unheralded Texan Oscar Mojica (11-5-1), losing on a split over six rounds.
In their fight, Harris found a hurtful right hand on the head of Barnes, which visibly hurt the Irishman, prompting the Welshman to pounce on his maimed foe, but Barnes weathered the storm and responded by throwing a volley of shots that just landed on the gloves of Harris, but did enough to get him through.
Barnes was on the backfoot again as Harris looked all but set to stop the home boy. The unbeaten champion from Swansea was throwing and landing twice as much as Barnes and the writing appeared to be on the wall and Barnes was doing well just to get to the end of each round.
The third round was a complete shootout! Harris cut over the right eye, but Barnes went down, courtesy of a brutal body blow from Harris. Somehow, he survivedto make it to the fourth round.
But, another well delivered hit - a left hook, followed by a grazing right hand on the top of the head - and Barnes went down again in the fifth and didn't get up this time - Harris wins!
The unbeaten Welshman picked up his third title - the IBF Inter-Continental Flyweight Title.
Harris said: “I’m ecstatic. I thought my performance was really good and I’m on top of the world. We knew it would be a loud atmosphere and I had goosebumps as soon as I walked out. It was phenomenal. I’m chuffed with myself and now we’ll see what happens next year.”
Barnes said: “He hit me with a good shot to the body and I couldn’t get up. The first body shot hurt me and I went down, but the second one took me around 12 seconds to recover. The fans were incredible, and Belfast boxing is buzzing at the moment.”
Bout 10 - FLOAT
PIERCE O’LEARY bt Oscar Amador PTS4
O’Leary said: “I walked out and hearing all of the crowd was brilliant, but I couldn’t get carried away with myself so I stayed composed. I can’t thank everyone enough who travelled up from Dublin, and thank you to MTK Global for now allowing me to showcase my skills around the world, it’s a dream come true.”