Jamie Conlan fights back to taste victory
Jamie Conlan ground out a points win over Junior Granados at Dublin's National Stadium on Saturday.
Even though Conlan enjoyed a unanimous decision victory (scores of 96-92 and 95-93 twice) he had to fight back from the brink of defeat in the seventh round when it looked almost certain that Granados would finish him.
After remaining largely in control of the opening rounds Jamie was surprisingly buzzed by a Granados right hand in the fourth and needed to circle his Mexican foe and recover.
The signs were promising until the seventh round when his troubles really began as a slashing right hook to the body dropped the Belfast man who rose pensively to fight on.
Experienced referee Mickey Vann gave the crowd favourite every opportunity to continue as Granados unleashed a heavy barrage of blows.
Finding his way to centre ring was no respite as two stinging uppercuts deposited Conlan back to the canvas.
The 28-year-old received another count and a timely end of round bell helped him to recover, regroup and battle through the final sessions.
Despite the excitement that he generated, Conlan later admitted that he was far from pleased with his display, describing it as a learning fight where mistakes were made.
He also paid tribute to the fans for helping to drag him over the line.
"I felt like crying in the ring because they were giving me an extra boost when I came back to the corner and it sent shivers down my back," he said.
"Afterwards Granados said 'you're a true Mexican' and to me that's a bit of a compliment because I had to dig deep."
Conlan improved his record to 14-0 and kept hold of his WBO Inter-Continental super-flyweight title. Conlan later revealed that his extreme fitness and rigorous training camps out in Matthew Macklin's MGM Marbella gym were the difference in that torrid seventh round.
"If I wasn't fit, I wouldn't have got up," he said.
"I just bit down on my gumshield and I'm just glad it's over now because it was a tough one."
Former WBO title holder Paul Butler is being mentioned as a possible future opponent for Jamie and as Butler is also a BoxNation fighter (they televised Saturday night's bill) it would appear fairly easy to negotiate.
A more frightening proposition is that of Japan's Naoya Inoue who has also been mentioned.
"That's the team's decision. I just get in to fight and leave them to pick the fights," said Conlan.
Belfast bantamweight Ryan Burnett got something close to a workout when Hungarian opponent Csaba Kovacs retired midway through the second round of an eight citing a damaged left shoulder.
Kovacs proved awkward to hit cleanly but offered little more as Burnett rushed in trying to unload big shots.
Burnett is now aiming for a straight shot at the British bantamweight title or a possible slot on Andy Lee's September world title defence in Limerick.
Further down the card there were wins for Stephen Ormond, Anthony Fitzgerald, Tommy Langford, Declan Geraghty, Michael Rooney and Sean Turner.