Photograph: Sharon Flanagan

Luke Keeler tucked a solid six rounds under his belt at Dublin’s Red Cow Moran Hotel on Friday night. The middleweight outpointed Laszlo Kovacs 59-55 on referee Emile Tiedt’s scorecard. Keeler was guilty of over reaching in the first two rounds and throwing a few too many heavy, looping blows. Luke’s aim was to blast Kovacs out of there and send his legion of supporters home happy but the Hungarian visitor was made of sterner stuff.

Trainer Pascal Collins implored Luke to throw the jab and indeed the 27-year-old looked every inch the boss when he did let the rangefinder go first. Kovacs offered little in an offensive capacity early on but upped his game in the third round, landing more than his fair share of scything hooks. Keeler worked the body well in the fourth round and Kovacs finally began to show signs of fatigue in the fifth.

The Hungarian’s corner clearly fancied the job and urged their man on in the initial stages of the sixth and final session. Kovacs dropped in a couple of tasty swipes when Keeler dropped his hands but this was the visitor’s last stand as he began wilting from that point onwards. The final two minutes were a race against time as Keeler poked and prodded away at his rapidly tiring foe, trying to grab a knockout. Kovacs made it to the final bell and can be pleased with his efforts throughout an honest 18 minutes of endeavour.

“I didn’t give him much respect going in there, I wasn’t really up for it even warming up,” admitted Keeler backstage. “He was durable and awkward, moving back, hooking and bending down so I couldn’t really catch him clean.”

Pascal Collins’ latest recruit, London middleweight Frank Buglioni, was in attendance at ringside alongside another product of the Celtic Warriors gym, Stephen Ormond. Alan and Jane Wilton’s first foray into the Dublin boxing scene can be deemed a success as the hall was packed out from start of the evening and the passionate crowd created a raucous atmosphere throughout.

Sean Turner is making a habit of removing Hungarian heavyweights. Not content blasting away Zoltan Elekes in record time recently, ‘Big Sexy”’uncorked a thumping left hook to emphatically disconnect Istvan Ruszinsky from his senses in the fourth and final round of their meeting here. Turner found Ruszinsky’s wobbly midriff the perfect spot to repeatedly hammer in left hooks but to the Hungarian’s credit he dutifully soaked them up and continued to motor forward until the finisher.

seanturnerSean’s weight will certainly continue to drop and more four-round workouts of this nature will do his lung capacity no harm at all. The former Drimnagh BC clubman (pictured right) clearly has the skills and power to make a dent in fighters at a decent level once he gains the type of experience that comes only from regular ring time.

Philip Sutcliffe Jnr dropped Scotland’s Martin McCord three times but rather than pushing his foot all the way down and getting his man out of there, Phil settled for a 40-33 win on Mr Tiedt’s card. Plucky southpaw McCord circled the ring throughout this light-welterweight four-rounder and found the switch-hitting Dubliner too hot to handle. McCord hit the canvas in the opening round from a combination of shots that included right hands to head and body. He was down from a similar burst in the second and a right hand brought about a delayed reaction knockdown in the third as the Ayr man slumped to the deck. Referee Tiedt was considering a termination but the away man convinced him to let it continue.

McCord will wake up in the morning with a couple of shiners on each eye as Sutcliffe continued to bash him around for the remainder of the contest. One of the highlights outside the ring came from the charismatic instructions of coach Phil Sutcliffe Snr who was joined by Bernardo Checa in the corner as manager Pat Magee looked on. Cries of “do the bumble bee”, “Rigondeaux, Phil, Rigondeaux” and “throw the Russian” could all be heard at various stages. Whatever those various instructions meant they certainly did the trick as young Sutcliffe responded accordingly.

Sutcliffe Jnr improves his record to 6-0 (5 KOs) with the first distance win of his career. McCord falls to 1-4-1 (1 KO).

Ian Tims opened the evening with a resounding 40-36 victory over Hungary’s Tamas Danko. The visitor took a barrage of blows in each round but hung in there when others may have folded. Pascal Collins repeatedly screamed “use the jabs Timsy and take the rounds” as Tims huffed and puffed in search of a stoppage. Left hooks to the head and right hands to the body reddened Dano’s torso and forehead but he refused to buckle. Emile Tiedt handled the contest.

Declan Geraghty defeated Ignac Kassai 40-35 in their super-featherweight four-rounder. The 34-year-old Hungarian looked close to being stopped in the opener following some bruising combinations and the ignominy of a count. He sucked it up and took his punishment with little complaint for the remainder of the contest, even landing some cheeky left hands much to ‘Pretty Boy’s’ chagrin. Geraghty whipped in hooks and uppercuts from a variety of angles as the two southpaws willingly engaged in the final round. Kassai’s ill-fitting gumshield came out twice during the bout.

Ciaran Bates wasted little time in decimating the threat of Hungary’s Miklos Szilagyi at 1-35 of the first round. Emile Tiedt did not like what he saw from Szilagyi after the referee asked him if he was OK in the corner. Szilagyi looked stunned and Tiedt duly called the bout off. Miklos had been battered from the start, shipping solid left hooks and jabs before a left hook high on the head finished him off. Bates made it two wins from two.

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