WATCH - Cork's Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan takes a big step towards world title bout with TKO victory
Cork boxer Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan achieved a stunning victory in Montreal, Canada earlier today stopping rising American star Antoine Douglas in the seventh round to secure the WBO Inter-Continential middleweight title.
This was the most significant win of his career to date and gives him a realistic chance of getting a shot at a world title in 2018.
He was the outsider in the fight which was the chief support for the WBO World middleweight title clash between Billy Joe Saunders – who took the belt from Ireland's Andy Lee – and local favourite David Lemieux. Saunders comfortably retained his crown on points.
But it was O'Sullivan who grabbed the headlines as he dominated his contest. He had a big fifth round, catching Douglas – who had only lost once before – with a series of clean shots.
He caught Douglas again with another clean right in the seventh round and the favourite looked out on his feet. He did stay standing but O'Sullivan simply piled on the pressure before his opponent crumbled to the canvas. He managed to get up but the referee stopped the contest.
Until the stoppage O'Sullivan had landed 130 of the 447 punches he threw, while Douglas only landed 108 of his 376 punches.
It remains to be seen how the career of 33 year old O'Sullivan will pan out from here.
Gennady Golovkin holds all the other versions of the World middleweight title and the indications are that he will fight Canelo Alvarez again – their previous contest earlier this year ended in a draw.
It is doubtful whether Saunders – who inflicted a first ever defeat on O'Sullivan when they clashed in the Wembley Arena in 2013 – would be willing to put his title on the line against Spike.
But regardless of the politics at the higher end of the middleweight category, O'Sullivan deserves huge credit for rebuilding his career – mostly with fights in the United States – after losing to Chris Eubank Jr two years ago. He moves on to a record of 27 wins and two losses and his dream of bringing a world belt back to his native city remains a real possibility.
He trains in the Celtic Warriors gym in Dublin under the guidance of Packy Collins. The latter had another success earlier today in the United States when Gorey Garda Niall Kennedy maintained his one hundred percent record when he stopped Danny Calhoun in the second round courtesy of a body shot to go 10-0.
“I'm absolutely over the moon,” tweeted Kennedy who sparred with World champion Anthony Joshua earlier this year.