Padraig McCrory wins Celtic title, Fredo Meli rips up the script and Paddy Barnes returns to form. All the undercard fights from Feile an Phobail

Alfredo Meli ripped up the script by out-pointing Arias Marutjan on Saturday night. Picture Mark Marlow
Andy Watters

BUI Celtic Super-middleweight title: Padraig McCrory bt Steve Collins jnr TKO8

THERE was bad blood in this one and the Hammer (McCrory) and the Wolfhound went at it from the first bell until close to the last when McCrory caught Collins jnr with a freight-train right hand.

Collins was hurt and when he shipped another big right the writing was on the wall for him. McCrory, who was a couple of rounds ahead by that stage, threw hell for leather and referee David Irving moved in for a timely stoppage after a minute and 48 seconds of the eighth.

“Steve made it hard, he was a lot better than what I thought,” said McCrory.

“He slipped punches very well. He was tough and I felt a bit flat in the middle rounds.”

He added: “This is my first belt. I fought 120 amateur belts and never won a belt, this my first belt and I don’t think it’s my last. I need to improve and that will come with sparring and putting in the hard graft.”

Middleweight: Alfredo Melli bt Araik Marutjan pts

“YOU’D need a crowbar to stop Fredo,” said a delighted Martin Lindsay afterwards. Lindsay, Fredo Meli senior and Gerard ‘Nugget’ Nugent were in Meli’s corner on Saturday night and the Immaculata ABC think tank got their tactics spot-on.

Their man rumbled forward like a Sherman tank for four rounds and he met the challenge of highly-fancied Sauerland prospect Marutjan in the centre of the ring. Marutjan looked for big rights hands but Meli negated them by getting up close and personal and denying him any leverage on his shots and when Armenian-born opponent missed he made him pay.

At the halfway point he was ahead and Marutjan seemed to be running out of ideas but the pre-fight favourite found his range, by opening distance between him and Meli, in the fifth and the fight swung his way.

A sweetly-timed left hook sent the Belfast man down in early in the sixth and Marutjan stalked Meli for the rest of the round but Meli recovered in the sixth, closed the distance and finished on top to take a 76-77 points win over eight engrossing rounds that deserved a TV slot.

Middleweight: Luke Keeler v Luis Arias

ANOTHER mighty impressive win for Dublin’s Keeler who had Arias on the canvas a minute into the opener and although the American came back aggressively he lacked the poise and subtlety to really put composed Keeler under pressure.

Keeler was docked a point for hitting round the back of Arias’ head in the fifth by referee Steve Gray but by the seventh round he was giving Arias a boxing lesson and was at least two rounds ahead by that stage.

A left hook sent Arias down again in his own corner and Keeler came close to stopping him in the last. He took a win that rubberstamps his under-rated ability 96-91 on the cards and will now look towards bigger fights against better opposition.

Super-lightweight: Sean McComb bt Renald Garrido pts

A WBO European or Celtic title shot could be on the cards for McComb next. Marseilles hardman Garrido took everything that McComb could throw at him – and he threw a blizzard of shots from all sorts of angles – and kept going. McComb was the clear winner but, like the 51 men who tried before him, he couldn’t get Garrido out of there.

Not that it matters of course, the rangy super-lightweight boxed beautifully as the sun went down over Falls Park and delighted the crowd with his elusive skills. He has progressed serenely to 9-0 in his first year as a pro.

Flyweight: Paddy Barnes bt Joel Sanchez pts

A WELCOME return to form for Barnes who was cut over the right eye in the first but settled in the second and hurt Sanchez with a right hook whipped in under his elbow. There was much more conviction about his work after that and he moved in behind the jab, covering up and ducking out of trouble when Sanchez countered and then going to work to his head and body.

Sanchez was nailed with a left and right to the head in the fifth and was on his bike for the rest of the round. Barnes kept the pressure on in the final round and the win gets him back on track after back-to-back losses.

“The guy was tough and it was something that I really, really needed,” he said.

“I needed to perform because there was a lot at stake there and I can press on now. I’ve got that out of the way, there were a few demons there after losing the last two fights. I felt the pressure because, another defeat and I’m over. Aren’t I?”

Barnes hopes to be out again in October and back at light-fly next March. He had vocal support from the fans on Saturday night and joked: “Sure everyone loves me like”.

Lightweight: Sean Duffy bt Naheem Chaudhry pts

A SHUT-out points win for Keady’s Duffy who picked his punches over four rounds of patient boxing. He was in total control against negative Chaudhry who kept his chin hidden behind a high guard but Duffy feinted and zeroed in shots to the body before switching his attacks to the head.

“I had too much pace for him and too much movement and he went into survival mode quiet early,” said Harry Hawkins-trained Duffy.

“I’d be happy to step up to six or eight rounds any time. In the gym I’m doing eight or 10 rounds sparring.”

Super-featherweight: Callum Bradley bt Jose Hernandez pts

ROARED on by a fan club from home town Omagh, 20-year-old Bradley moved to 3-0 with a good workout over four rounds against the game Hernandez. The Nicaraguan journeyman warrior rushed in behind a flurry of punches but Bradley remained composed, landed some neat counters and boxed his way to a points win.

Cruiserweight: Damien Sullivan v Mateusz Kubiszyn LTKO1

IN the first fight of the bill, local favourite Sullivan was on top in the early stages but a Kubiszyn right hand caught him on the chin after a couple of minutes and the Pole followed it up with a furious attack, pinning Sullivan on the ropes. He put the Emerald ABC fighter down with another booming right hook. Sullivan was trying to get back on his feet midway through referee Eamonn Magill’s count but didn’t make it and it was all over after 2.34 of the first round.

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