Shane McGuigan still on course for senior title
One thunderous right hand has left Shane McGuigan eight minutes away from emulating dad Barry by landing an Ulster senior title at the first attempt.
There were many in the packed Dockers Club last night who suggested James Ferrin would have too much know-how for 19-year-old McGuigan in their welterweight semi.
In terms of experience there is no comparison as Ferrin has banked six Irish titles but he found himself overwhelmed by the turbo-charged McGuigan.
Ferrin, of Holy Family, was clearly anxious to stamp his authority on the contest, immediately throwing copious amounts of leather which at first flustered McGuigan but by the end of the round he was matching fire with an inferno.
Ferrin had given an awful lot and slowed a little and when he went to prod out a jab McGuigan swept over a right hand that sent him stumbling to the canvas and after a count referee Paul Carson called a halt.
"I knew the right hand was the punch to do the damage. I waited and when I saw the chance I dropped the hammer," said McGuigan, who represents Clones.
"I knew that he was really fired up and he came out throwing lots of punches and it's hard when it's attack after a attack but I steadied myself and I knew I would get him. Now I've got a chance to win the Ulster senior title, which is great."
It was another step along the learning curve for McGuigan and most encouraging for his dad and fellow coach Lee Pullan is the calm authority which he brings to the ring.
In boxing terms he is a novice at this level but is making serious strides with every bout.
McGuigan will meet the winner of tonight's semi-final between Shane McKeown of Sacred Heart, Newry and Dungloe's Cathal McCauley.
McCauley was a comfortable 10-6 winner over Ring's Thomas Duddy.
McKeown was very fortunate to make the last four as David Walsh of St John's was clearly robbed of victory after four highly entertaining rounds.
The 18-year-old, who his sights on an Irish under-18 title next month, was 7-5 ahead at the midway point but somehow found himself 12-10 going into the final two minutes.
The final round produced some thrilling close quarter action and McKeown was handed the 18-17 verdict, much to the surprise of many.
It wasn't the only controversial decision as TJ Hamill and his All Saints cornermen, dad Matt and uncle Gerry were left fuming by the 12-10 decision in Eamonn O'Kane's favour.
It was another intense clash between these two and while Immaculata man O'Kane certainly edged last year's middleweight final, Hamill seemed to nick this one with his cleaner blows.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Gerry Hamill said: "After (Steven) Donnelly has fought this year I'll not be back at the Ulsters. That was a disgrace.
"There were three Derry judges and a Derry referee for a fight which had a Derry man (O'Kane) in it. That can't be right. The referee warned him five times for holding and never took points away."
Jack Monaghan of the Ulster Council said: "I don't go by the boxers, I go by the clubs and it was two Antrim clubs and when that's the case we like to keep the Antrim judges away. That is the policy, I don't concern myself with the individuals."
One factor both camps agreed on was the ridiculous seeding of the Ulster council which saw them meet in the last eight. It should have been the final.
Now the path looks clear for O'Kane to win his sixth consecutive middleweight title.
Padraig McCrory of St John's might have something to say about that as he was an impressive third round winner over Oliver Plunkett's Patrick Reilly and now meets Martin Lynch of Illies in this evening's semi-final. It should be a cracker.
Reilly's clubmate Thomas McCarthy won on his seniors debut, comprehensively outpointing Steven Ward of Monkstown 19-8 and he will face Abbey's Paul Moffatt in the decider.
Moffatt won 8-6 on a countback against Stephen Martin of St John Bosco.