Michael Conlan returned to his homeland at Falls Park in Belfast to claim the interim WBA featherweight title with a clear points win against former world champion, TJ Doheny.
Conlan had been hovering between featherweight and super bantamweight, and had claimed the WBO International title at 122 pounds last time out with a majority decision win against Ionut Baluta, but, with the carat of a lofty world ranking, a move upwards made sense. Doheny had served as IBF super bantamweight champion in 2018/19, but arrived in Northern Ireland on the back of two defeats in his last three outings.
It wasn’t the most absorbing of contests, but Conlan did enough to get his hand raised, scoring a knockdown in the process. The early rounds saw Doheny in his shell, but the action was limited, and the fight finally came to life in the fifth. A left hand to the body landed for Conlan, and hurt Doheny, who was forced to take shelter on the canvas after a follow up attack. He beat the count, and Conlan went on the offensive, but couldn’t find the finishing punch to end matters. Doheny did come into the argument in the middle rounds, as he inched closer to his opponent, and he dipped Conlan’s knees in round eight as he cranked up the pressure. Conlan was forced to keep Australia based Doheny at bay down the stretch, and he showed signs of hard work with a bloodied nose and a cut eye for his troubles. In front of a rabid pro-Conlan crowd, Michael drove TJ to the ropes in the final round, and the pair fought to the final bell, where the scorecards were required.
Two scores of 116-111, and a third at a too wide 119-108, ensured Conlan took victory. He has designs on facing the winner in the clash between WBO super bantamweight champion, Steph Fulton, and Brandon Figueroa, with the two meeting in September. There is also the possibility of a bout with WBA featherweight champion, Leigh Wood, after his thrilling win over Can Xu last weekend.
🎥 Home turf highlights: #TheConlanRevolution dominates in an all-Irish battle & Mick’s biggest test to date. pic.twitter.com/ZSxlLGkShF
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) August 7, 2021
Lee McGregor chalked up another knockout win, but he was forced to get off the floor himself, and overcame a slow start to defend his European bantamweight title against the previously unbeaten Frenchman, Vincent Legrand. Mcgregor looked a few weights above his opponent on the night but Legrand, a former two time European champion at flyweight, boxed well in the early going, landing several shots that were perfectly timed. Legrand put a series of punches together in the second, and a right hook dumped McGregor for the first time in his career. The Scot comfortably beat the count, but was struggling to get going, and the third saw damage to Lee’s eye as it began to swell. McGregor turned the fight on its head a round later, as he came out on the attack, and when he trapped Legrand on the ropes, he unloaded a body shot that forced the challenger to his knees, where he was unable to beat the count to allow McGregor to retain and make a successful first defence of his belt.
Lee McGregor (now 11-0) was dropped in round 2 and potentially lost the first 3 rounds but came back to finish the now 32-1 Vincent Legrand with a body shot in the fourth. #boxing #ConlanDoheny pic.twitter.com/wSS7cJTcZn
— Will (@ChillemDafoe) August 6, 2021
Another man forced to get off the canvas was Tyrone McKenna, but he eventually took the vacant WBO Intercontinental super lightweight title in a firefight with Jose Felix. Felix was down in the opening round, but it was more of a slip at the end of a cuffing McKenna blow, but ‘The Mighty Celt’ found himself on the deck in round three, a Felix body shot finding the target. From there, the pair exchanged vicious power shots pretty much to the final bell, but McKenna was always just that one step ahead of his opponent, and took the belt by scores of 99-91, 97-92 and 97-91.
Padraig McCrory became WBC International Silver super middleweight champion, as he stopped Sergei Gorokhov in five one-sided rounds. McCrory worked well of a stiff jab, and Gorokhov could hardly get into range to cause any damage. The damage was being done to the Russian, with his nose cut and bloodied, and he was down from a counter hook in the fourth as the writing was on the wall. The end came in the next round, with the visitor’s cut worsening, and, when he visited the ringside doctor, the fight was waved off.
Sean McComb returned after his first professional loss to Gavin Gwynne, and he won all eight rounds of his lightweight contest with Vicente Martin Rodriguez.
Hot prospect Paddy Donovan made it seven straight wins as a pro, as he knocked out Argentina’s Jose Luis Castillo in a round at welterweight. A well timed and placed body shot was the finisher, with Castillo unable to beat the count.
Welterweight prospect Paddy Donovan is the real deal 👀 #ConlanDoheny pic.twitter.com/tVhUj79WEa
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) August 6, 2021
Fearghus Quinn scored a first round win against Fernando Heredia, and James McGivern took all six rounds against Ed Harrison.