It could hardly have been an easier return to the ring for former Commonwealth heavyweight champion Martin Rogan, an exercise in shaking off ring rust at best.
Bulgarian Yavor Marinchev came to the University of Limerick Arena on Saturday night with a record of five wins and 20 defeats and was duly despatched in just two minutes and 44 seconds.
Rogan, 39, walked down Marinchev and with a solid left hook to the body floored his opponent who never looked like he would be able to recover. Much harder tests will obviously lie ahead and former World champion Dave McAuley says Rogan needs a much more serious examination on the back of his first round victory, returning to the ring after a 12-month lay-off which included surgery on his neck.
“I’m delighted to be back. The neck held up very well and I felt good in there,” said Rogan, who believes he can march back towards major title contention in 2011.
McAuley, working at ringside for RTE, believes the next one or two fights with the right opponents will demonstrate whether or not Rogan will have the chance to become a champion again.
“That fight on Saturday night was a breaking in fight which is understandable because he hasn’t fought in a year but you can’t learn anything from it,” said McAuley.
“We know that Rogan can punch and he is a very strong guy but in his next fight he should really be moved up in class.
“He needs someone who will give him more of a test, he needs to go a few rounds.
“The next couple of fights he needs to go in with good British class to show himself and his manager Brian Peters if he still has the desire, to see where he stands at this point in his career.
“As a fighter it’s alright when you’re in the gym training and you feel good but it’s when you take a few big shots to the chin in a fight that you really find out how much desire you have.
“He’s done it before and I’m sure if he has a couple of good wins then will be right in there with a shot at the British title. After all he beat Audley Harrison and he’s fighting for the World heavyweight title.
“The fact is you should have to earn your chance to fight for a world title and Audley hasn’t done that.”
Rogan will return to the ring in two weeks time in Castlebar and it has been mooted he may also get a call to be on the Martin Lindsay undercard at the King’s Hall on December 15.
In the main event, Limerick’s Willie Casey stopped Paulie Hyland in the fourth round of their vacant European super-bantamweight title clash.
Casey unloaded his heavy blows and the Dubliner folded.
Casey, coached by Phil Sutcliffe, is now expected to make the first defence of his belt in February against former champion Kiko Martinez, who vacated the title due to injury.
“Phil Sutcliffe saw me as an amateur and he persuaded me that the amateurs were not for me and that it’s in the pro game I should be,” said Casey.
“Just a week after I turned pro he told me he would make me a European champion within three years.
“Here I am today, two years in the game, only 10 fights and I am European champion.”
Meanwhile, veteran Jamaican Glen Johnson knocked out Allan Green in the eighth round to advance through to the Super Six super-middleweight tournament semi-finals.