Boxing

Lethal Crocker rises to the occasion to grab European belt after stopping Greene

Belfast's Lewis Crocker moved to 12-0 last night after a seventh round stoppage of 'Medway Mauler' Louis Greene in Wakefield. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran

LETHAL Lewis Crocker landed the first title of his career last night when he walked away with the WBO European welterweight belt after stopping Louis Greene behind closed doors in Wakefield.

In what was the toughest of his 12-fight career to date, Crocker showed that the better the opponent, the better he performs with a sharp display.

Greene is no mug either, having lost just one of his 13 pro fights before last night, but he just couldn’t handle the power and the snap in Crocker’s left hand.

The first time it took effect was towards the end of the first round when a well-timed short hook caught Greene flush on the chin and left him on the seat of his pants.

He recovered well though and continued to pile forward, but when he was dropped again in the seventh – this time after a left to the body followed by a right to the body – the writing was on the wall.

Smelling blood, Crocker moved forward and caught Greene with a right hand to the top of the head, sending him to the floor for a third and final time as referee Michael Alexander decided he had seen enough.

“It means everything to me,” said the 23-year-old.

“I felt great in there, and all the hard work paid off. I know I can make the weight comfortably and I know I’m going to be a great welterweight in years to come, if not sooner.

“Fair play to Louis Greene, he was as tough as they come.”

Earlier in the evening, former amateur star James McGivern passed his first pro test with little trouble as he eased to a points victory over Jamie Quinn in the first fight of the night.

The 22-year-old, a 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in the Gold Coast and an Irish Olympic hope before turning over, didn’t have to get out of first gear on his debut, with Quinn just happy to survive the six round contest.

A veteran of 112 fights in just six years (7-103-2), the 30-year-old from Stockport has earned a reputation as one of the most durable journeymen on the circuit, suffering only three stoppage defeats along the way.

And McGivern stayed patient throughout, picking his shots and trying to open ‘Devil Child’ up to the body. With barely anything coming back, the Belfast lightweight had to stay patient and ensure he didn’t get frustrated by Quinn’s tactics.

With his last amateur contest coming at the European Games in June 2019, ‘The Natural’ – who was originally slated to make his debut in April - was just happy to get the rounds under his belt after such a long spell without any competitive action.

“It’s brilliant to be back in the ring, finall. To do it like this is strange but I really enjoyed it,” said Celtic fan McGivern, who received a good luck message from former Bhoys striker John Hartson before the fight and made his ringwalk to Hoops anthem ‘Just can’t get enough’.

“The difference between amateur training and then training to be a professional, it’s a lot harder graft. When I got sent the opponent, I knew it was going to be tough.

“People look at his record and think he must be terrible, but he’s as tough as they come. I hit him to back hands to the head, back hands to the body, he just took them.

“At one stage he was laughing at me, so he was a tough customer. But it’s good to get into that level already. Hopefully I can get a crowd together back in Belfast and it’ll be like another debut.”

Former Ulster middleweight champion Fearghus Quinn also opened his pro account with a solid victory, proving far too strong for the game Robbie Chapman.

With a winning record of 6-3-0, ‘Camden Caretaker’ Chapman was a tough proposition, especially as a last minute opponent. And it proved the perfect workout for Quinn, whose powerful, measured style looks ready-made for the professional ranks.

Coming to the ring in his Belleeks GAA jersey, former Armagh minor Quinn started strongly, rocking Chapman with some big right hands and uppercuts in the first round.

However, his opponent recovered well and Quinn – who turned 24 on Sunday - settled and slowed his work, dominating the rest of the contest to score a straightforward win and get the ball rolling on his pro career.

“It’s a relief more than anything after waiting such a long time,” he said.

“I was meant to have the debut in April, it got pushed back, I was training away over lockdown waiting for something came up, this came up at short notice. I knew I was fit enough so I took it, and I’m glad to get it out of the road – even if it is in unusual circumstances.”

Before that fight, highly-rated Kildare lightweight Gary Cully had to recover from a fifth round knockdown to defeat Craig Woodruff, with referee Phil Edwards scoring the fight 77-75 in Cully’s favour.

That moved the tall southpaw to 11-0 as he maintained his unbeaten record, albeit in his toughest test to date.

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Boxing