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Impressive Hillerby targets Irish title after seventh win

By David Kelly

Sandy Row’s Joe Hillerby has his sights on the Irish light-middleweight title after a comprehensive victory on Saturday night at the Odyssey Arena.

Hillerby picked up the vacant Northern Ireland belt when he out pointed Ballyclare’s Willie Thompson, English referee Terry O’Connor scoring it 98-93 after 10 competitive rounds.

The 24-year-old, who took his unbeaten record to seven, scored heavily with his jab and his solid one-twos rattled up the points, while in the seventh round he almost had Thompson on the floor with a fierce assault.

Ballyclare man Thompson nevertheless recovered and never stopped pressing to the final bell but Hillerby was always delivering the clean shots.

Hillerby said: “I’m delighted with the win and now I want to go on and beat Jeff Thomas for the Irish title. I thought I boxed well and could have stopped him in the seventh.”

It was a disappointing night for former Commonwealth cruiserweight champion Darren Corbett who on his return to the ring after a two-year absence lost 58-56 in his six-rounder with Mayo’s Michael Sweeney with opinion divided as to who should have got the nod.

Raging Bull Corbett, who had survived a street attack 24 hours earlier, made an explosive start when he floored Sweeney within the first 30 seconds with a right hook. Credit to the Mayo man, he got up and fired back.

Sweeney continued to be under pressure in the second as Corbett looked to crowd him and unload his big punches. By the fourth, though, Sweeney was getting through with his own straight blows.

Middleweight Chris Eubank jnr, watched at ringside by his former world champion dad, looks as if he has a very bright future on the back of a fourth round stoppage of formerly unbeaten Scot Paul Allison.

Dee Walsh handed Tommy Tolan a bloody beating in their all-Belfast clash, stopping his opponent in the fourth round of their middleweight six-rounder, while it was a perfect night for Bangor’s Paul Moffatt who enjoyed a 40-37 victory over Belfast man Ciaran Healy at super-middleweight on his debut.

Another debutant, Belfast cruiserweight Conall Carmichael also made a fine start to his career with a 40-36 victory over Ugandan Moses Matovu and Shankill Road featherweight Marc McCullough enjoyed an early night when he completely overwhelmed Sean Watson, stopping him in just 129 seconds.

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