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‘Spike’ O’Sullivan’s World Championship dream ends after eighth round stoppage sees Erislandy Lara retain belt

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Erislandy Lara punches Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan during their fight for Lara's WBA World middleweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Erislandy Lara punches Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan during their fight for Lara's WBA World middleweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Erislandy Lara punches Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan during their fight for Lara's WBA World middleweight title at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

THERE was no joy for Cork’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in his world title fight in New York last night.

Thirty-nine-year Cuban-American southpaw Erislandy Lara stopped the Irishman in the eighth round of their WBA Middleweight Championship bout in the Barclay Center in Brooklyn.

Lara had hurt O’Sullivan with a left hand at the end of the seventh round, but the 37-year-old challenger recovered to start the next. But sensing his opportunity, the defending champion went to work early in the eighth.

He caught O’Sullivan with another straight left hand. Referee Benjy Esteves only allowed Lara to land one more punch before he stopped the contest 23 seconds into the round.

The win takes Lara’s professional record to 29-3-3 with 17 wins achieved inside the distance. It was O’Sullivan’s fifth career loss to go with his 31 wins. He had taken the fight at five weeks’ notice which meant the odds were stacked against him.

As always he lacked nothing in bravery and caught Lara with some decent body shots. But the former stand-out Cuban amateur controlled the contest.

O’Sullivan bled from a cut on his nose by the third round and he survived a knock-down in the fourth. Lara rocked O’Sullivan again late in the fifth but couldn’t drop him.

This pattern continued in the sixth when a right-hook knocked O’Sullivan off balance but again he survived. But ultimately Lara got the business done in the eighth round.

Meanwhile, later today in Armenia Ireland’s Gabriel Dossen (middleweight) and Dylan Eagleson (bantamweight) bid to upgrade their European championship bronze medals to at least silver when they box in the semi-finals.

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