Friday 20 April 2018

Conlan to get Garden date after making it four from four

Tyson Fury enters the ring to protest after his cousin Hughie Fury’s WBO heavyweight title defeat to Joseph Parker. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Tyson Fury enters the ring to protest after his cousin Hughie Fury’s WBO heavyweight title defeat to Joseph Parker. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Bernard O'Neill

Two-time Irish Olympian Michael Conlan will fight on the Vasyl Lomachenko versus Guillermo Rigondeaux undercard at New York's Madison Square Garden on December 9 in his fifth pro fight.

The unbeaten Belfast super-bantam improved to four wins after dropping and stopping Montana's Kenny Guzman in the second round in Arizona on Friday night.

The win maintains his 100pc KO record as all his victories so far have been inside the distance.

"I kind of done the wrong thing and got reckless and I didn't mind taking punches, but I was just happy to get a nice knockout. I felt a bit more power tonight, I felt I developed a bit, and was working the body a bit more," said Conlan.


Elsewhere, Sligo fly Dean Clancy and Cork light Callum Walsh upgraded their bronze medals to at least silver after winning their semi-finals at the European Junior Championships in Albena, Bulgaria yesterday.

Clancy (Ballinacarrow BC) and Walsh (Riverstown BC) beat Italy's Emanuele Massimo and Russia's Sino Sabivov on split decisions and will face Georgia's Mamuka Abuladze and Bulgaria's Stilyan Hristov in today's finals.

Meanwhile, Hughie Fury came up short in his brave bid to wrest the WBO heavyweight title from champion Joseph Parker in Manchester on Saturday.

Fury, the cousin of former world champion Tyson who was at ringside, dropped a majority points decision with two judges favouring the New Zealander 118-110 while the third scored the contest a 114-114 draw.

The scoring reflected the wildly split opinions at ringside with Parker's ponderous front-foot action contrasting with Fury's bid to claim the title on the back foot.

Ultimately, despite an encouraging start, Fury was not quite busy enough to win the title after a bout which will hardly have Anthony Joshua losing any sleep. Even by the standards of WBO heavyweight title history, Fury's path to a title shot could have been considered particularly improbable.

It did not quite match the story of Tim Tomashek, who was famously plucked out of the crowd to challenge Tommy Morrison for the title in 1993.

But having been out of the ring for 17 months while he battled a debilitating skin condition, Fury could hardly have been considered an obvious contender.

It was his cousin Tyson's decision to relinquish the WBO belt on medical grounds last year which would lead to Hughie's unlikely chance.

Parker picked up the vacant title with a low-key win over Andy Ruiz Jr in Auckland last December and having successfully defended against Razvan Cojanu, decided he wanted to make a breakthrough in Europe.

Fury had the name and the unbeaten record - despite his previous 20 vanquished opponents totalling 240 defeats between them - to make the front of the queue. Parker started out as the aggressor, landing a couple of early left hands, while Fury was content to ease through the early stages on the back foot, seeking out an opening.

It came early in the fourth, when Fury landed a cracking short right uppercut, but it was not enough to trouble the tough champion, who fired back with a swinging left while an accidental head clash bloodied Fury's nose.

Fury had found his range by the halfway stage, jolting Parker with a right-hand off the front foot, while a cracking right hand from Parker was the best work in the eighth.

Fury however was unfazed by Parker's sporadic assaults, shrugging off another right in the ninth. But Parker continued to land the most eye-catching efforts and despite the Fury camp's vehement complaints to the contrary, it was hard to argue with the New Zealander retaining his title after a largely forgettable contest.

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