Irish pride prevails in Wembley
Incredible Irishman Pierce O’Leary (13-0, 7KO) successfully defended his WBC International super-lightweight belt against Kane Gardner (16-3, 7KO) under the bright lights of Wembley Stadium in London, on September 23.
The fight took place as part of the undercard of the Zhilei Zhang vs Joe Joyce 2 event presented by Queensbury Promotions.
Despite Wembley being 20 miles away from his Bromley-based Ibox gym and a quick hop over the sea from his hometown of Dublin – the Brit Kane Gardner did his best to make O’Leary feel like the outsider and remind him whose country he was in
"Big Bang" O’Leary implemented a strategic gameplan in the opening rounds, effectively employing his ring generalship, steering "Sugar Kane" Gardner towards the ropes,
The 23-year-old Dubliner found opportunities to unload his offensive, leading to a first round knockdown of his opponent. As he grew more confident, O’Leary began to unleash his arsenal in the fourth round.
Despite winning the round, 28-year-old Gardner was able to land accurate left hooks and a right hand. These punches led to a cut opening up on O’Leary’s left eye. The unbeaten Irishman stayed on his opponent and made him answer for the cut, landing a big left hook to Gardner’s temple in the sixth round, visibly hurting him.
The Beswick boxer managed to stay in the fight through the later rounds, despite Pierce being completely on top and commanding. Trained by Alan Smith and Eddie Lamm, O’Leary was able to land the heavier shots and more of them – leading to his unanimous decision victory from the judges.
It was good test for the bright prospect, O’ Leary, whose last 10-round fight ended with a knockout in just 71 seconds, last May. It's the super-lightweight's second time going 10 rounds.
He commented: “It was a tough auld fight; I had to dig deep in there. He’s 28 years of age, a lot of people ducked him – bundles of experience over me. It just goes to show that tonight I digged in deep, pulled the win out of the bag and we move on to the next stage. It was amazing -the atmosphere was like home. On the ringwalk with my team around me, I was like “this is home from home”. I knew I got a big fan base with me and a bigger fan base after a performance like that.
“I really, really enjoyed it; I loved every minute of it. If I can bring 100 -150 people over every time; imagine what we can do back in Dublin; sell arenas out all day long. I’m only gonna keep climbing the ranks and getting tough opponents. I keep showing that we levelled every time; level upon level. Listen, got the win, me and my team are happy; we done what we had to do – we nailed the gameplan. We want to chase European titles next year, we keep on pushing on, keep getting up in those rankings. Hopefully at 24 years old, I’ll be ready for them world titles.”
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