In an epic night for Irish boxing, fans were served up one of the best nights seen on these shores for many a year. Celtic Clash 4 seemed to have it all – knockouts, domestic tear-up’s, title fights and a potential candidate for ‘Irish fight of the year’.
So, here’s a look back at how the action unfolded –
- Eric Donovan vs Juancho Gonzalez – Celtic Featherweight title – Eric Donovan made another step-up in class when he took on tough Spaniard Juancho Gonzalez. Gonzalez had a reputation as an aggressive come forward fighter, but Donovan quickly took control of the fight and dictated matters with his snapping jab and quick combo’s.
Donovan looked very fresh going into the final few rounds as he found another gear and upped the pace putting the pressure on Gonzalez. In the end, Donovan claimed an emphatic points win 80-72 to move to 6-0 (3 ko’s) as he looks to challenge for european honours in 2018
- Jay Byrne vs Crank Whitehouse – Celtic Welterweight title – In one of the most hotly anticipated all-Irish bouts of the year, Byrne and Whiteouse finally settled matters in the ring. Going against the odds, Jay Byrne stayed true to his word and emphatically stopped Whitehouse in round 4.
After a slow start of feeling each other out, Byrne started to work off the jab in round 3 and followed-up with right hands. Then in round 4, he landed a clubbing right and followed up with a nasty uppercut, sensing he had Crank in trouble, he piled on the pressure and floored Whitehouse. He gamely rose to beat the count but he referee correctly waved the fight off, giving Byrne his first pro title with a sensational performance.
- Stephen McAfee vs Colin O’Donovan – Super-featherweight – These two served up the fight of the night and a candidate for Irish fight of the year with their brave, bloody, all-action display. Neither took a backwards step and both landed massive shots throughout the fight. It was a real back and forth battle with both having success in different rounds.
The fight culminated in an all out war in round 6, as both sensed they needed the round to claim the win. Both had faces that told the tale of the bout, with busted noses and blood covering their faces, they bravely traded blows right to the final bell. The bout ended in a draw and hopefully we will be treated to a rematch for the Celtic title in the new year.
Here’s how the rest of the action went –
- Graham McCormack claimed an exciting debut win over Richard Baba. The Limerick light-middleweight had to dig deep but took a points win 39-37 to the delight of his travelling army of fans.
- Welterweight John Joyce moved to 3-0 as he claimed a 2nd round stoppage win over Imre Simon. Joyce is improving with every fight and could line up a potential bout with Jay Byrne next year on this form.
- Celtic Light-middle champ Craig O’Brien moved to 7-0 with a comfortable points win over Daniel Przewieslik. O’Brien was in command throughout and looked to pile the pressure on late on. The Iron rounded off a great year as he marches towards major titles in 2018.
- Middleweight Bernard Roe moved to 6-0 as he outpointed the durable Willie Warburton over 6 rounds. Roe edged out a scrappy affair 59-55
- Niall O’Connor made it 2-0 as he stopped Spaniard Manuel Prieto. The classy light-welter moved through the gears quickly and hurt Prieto throughout eventually stopping him in round 3. 2018 will be an interesting year for O’Connor if he keeps developing at this rate.
- Crumlin banger Martin Quinn had to dig deep in his lightweight bout with Iago Barros. In what turned into a real brawl, Quinn jus about outworked the Spaniard to claim a narrow points win 39-37 and move to 2-0
- Dylan McDonagh 2-0 stayed through to his nickname ‘The Firecracker’ and gave a sensational performance to stop Robert Kanalas. Jumping on the Hungarian early, he backed him up, and forced an early stoppage after relentless body shots. McDonagh will be one to watch next year as he looks like he could be moved along quickly
- Welterweight James ‘Chopper’ Cahill made it 2-0 after he battled to a tough points win over Zambian Mwenya Chisanga. Chisenga had success mid rounds but Chopper took control and finished well to claim a 39-37 points win in what can be put down as a real ‘learning fight’ for the talented 19-year-old.
- Roscommon fan-favourite Darren Cruise got the night off to a start as he claimed an emphatic 2nd round stoppage win over Janos Varga. Cruise is mooted to be joining Ireland’s ‘Last Man Standing’ Competition next year and with his busy, all-action style you’d have to consider him a favourite if he decides to join the new competition.