Belfast Telegraph

McCloskey a class act

By Jack Magowan

It had all the flavour of old King's Hall blockbusters - the sound, exuberance and fervour - and Paul McCloskey and Belfast lad, Martin Lindsay both shared centre stage.

For his most impressive win in an unbeaten 14-fight run, McCloskey touched southpaw perfection against former European champion Tontcho Tontchev, and stopped the Bulgarian in round four, while Lindsay, too, is looking forward to a happy and rewarding New Year after beating a tough Venezuelan in only his tenth pro contest.

"McCloskey looked good, really good," enthused Barney Eastwood, a guest of promoter Brian Peters.

"A No.12 ranking among Britain's best light-welterweights doesn't flatter the lad. He's technically and physically stronger than that. I like his style; and that right hand is a peach."

Tontchev had previously lost only six times in 43 fights, but was given a boxing lesson; or, in trainer John Breen's words, "kept in a constant state of befuddlement!"

Rattlesnake fast behind a great right jab, Paul's fist was rarely out of the Bulgarian's face, and the visitor aged before our eyes before being floored by a smartly-timed left hook. The referee was wise to call it a day.

"Colin Lynes, from Hornshurch, is the British and European champion," says Breen.

"Much more experienced than McCloskey, yes, but we'd still like to challenge him. Paul's southpaw jab, and in-built self-belief, are a winning combination."

Bravo for Lindsay. Home again after eight months, and two good wins, in Canada, he, too, is unbeaten and will have learned a lot from eight meaningful rounds against Edison Torres, a 39-year-old veteran.

Torres had recently gone the distance with Kiko Martinez, the Spaniard who shattered Bernard Dunne's world title hopes, and clearly meant business.

Lindsay, however, kept his cool, threaded home some good body shots after rocking the chunky Venezuelan with a wicked right hand early on, and won by a margin of five rounds to one, with two shared (79-75).

Now 25, Lindsay is not shy to let the punches flow and has a string of ten wins to his name. He will also be eyeing a British title shot in 2008.

Salute Ireland's new 11-stone champion, Ciaran Healy.

It was with the sweetest left hand of the night that Falls Road man Healy knocked out Leeds-born southpaw, Lee Murtagh, for this vacant crown only three months after losing to Andy Lee.

Belfast Telegraph


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