Conlan rises from the canvas to claim Commonwealth belt
Jamie Conlan grabbed the Commonwealth title in dramatic fashion at the Copper Box Arena on Saturday night. The Belfast super-flyweight finally deposed champion Anthony Nelson in round eight after a thrilling tussle which saw both men taste the canvas.
Nelson was put down in a frenzied opening session and was stunned again in round two. Referee Marcus McDonnell may have been tempted to stop the champion as he soaked up heavy punishment on the ropes but he somehow survived the round.
The South Shields man dramatically turned the tables in the third when a whipping right hand felled Conlan.
Both men enjoyed periods of success as the action warmed up in the seventh.
With fitness and desire in abundance Conlan unleashed a high quality left hand to the body to finally knock all of the resistance out of Nelson. Grimacing on the canvas, he was counted out at 0:40 of the eighth.
Jamie is still hunting down a fight with Paul Butler and has one eye on a return to Belfast in the summer. Fights like this, coupled with the all-out war against Junior Granados last July, are quickly establishing the unbeaten 'Mexican' as a fans' favourite.
"We trained all camp to control the distance, control the pace, but it seems that I have to dig it out from somewhere," said Conlan.
"Lucky enough I have that one-punch power. I have to give him every respect for staying in there and fighting back with me.
"I want the Ulster Hall in July. I would even take him (Nelson) again. We could scrap it out in the Ulster Hall and what a fight it would be."
While Conlan walked away with the spoils there was no title glory for James Tennyson who lost his British featherweight clash against Ryan Walsh.
The gap in experience was too much for Tennyson who was stopped by referee Michael Alexander at 2:34 of round five. The clinical champion requires one more successful defence to win the Lonsdale belt outright.
Walsh started on the front foot in the opener and dropped a tentative Tennyson in the second round. James boxed his way back in to the contest briefly during the third by landing some tasty right uppercuts but his jab was notably absent for long spells.
The Belfast man was downed twice in the fifth as Walsh confidently hunted the body and the bout was waved off soon after. Tennyson entered with a string of knockout wins to his name but was unable to push the champion into any real discomfort.
Manager Mark Dunlop intimated after the bout that making the featherweight limit may have hindered James' performance on the night. Tennyson insists he can rebound from the second stoppage defeat of his career.
"Walsh is a very good fighter but if I was on top of my game I would've won," he said. "I wanted to continue but the referee waved it off. I'm not making any excuses up though and the best man won. It just wasn't my night."
Trainer Tony Dunlop added: "He did okay at times but he's a 22-year-old kid who will be back. I believe he can become British and European champion. Tonight was just a setback."