It was a fight that the Olympic silver medallist was always expected to win and he did it with panache and flair, winning each round comfortably and forcing standing counts in the second and third.
“I was scoring well and getting the points up – I know it’s hard to get the points these days,” he said. “I was catching him with clean head shots and some hard body shots too to soften him up.
“Once I had my distance right I was making him miss and countering each time he threw a shot.
“Last year was a disaster for me but I am flying this year. I am confident in my ability and mentally I am flying. I am looking forward to the final next week – a pity it’s not tomorrow night to get it out of the way.’’
The fight of the night was at light welterweight where the former world junior/youths champion Ray Moylette (St Anne’s, Westport) turned in the performance of his life to outpoint the defending champion, Philip Sutcliffe (Crumlin) 10-8.
Sutcliffe, whose father Philip was a four time Irish champion and two-time European champion, stopped John Joe Joyce in last year’s championships and again in the box-off for the world’s last summer, and he appeared to have the firepower to end the fight inside the distance before the young Mayo man quickly tightened his guard and scored three points in quick succession towards the end of the first round to trail 4-3. And when he went 7-5 up early in the second it was clear the champion had a fight on his hands. Now Moylette was backing on to the ropes and taking all the big shots on his gloves and arms before scoring with an accurate left jab.
He proceeded to box Sutcliffe off the back foot and Sutcliffe’s frustration was evident as he banged his man with both hands. They each got public warnings for retaliating after the referee, James McCarron from Donegal, asked them to stop and Moylette, who was 8-5 up at that point, went on to win impressively.
“When he won last year he has been followed ever since. When I won my world title everyone knew everything about me and it was hard for me to win a fight after that,” Moylette said.
“It was the same for Phil as well everyone knew what he was capable of so he was at a disadvantage. I knew his style.
“He fights just one way but then if you can do it right it is still hard to break it down. I have a better guard than a punch but my theory is if you don’t get hit you won’t lose.
“I was working on my defence since I decided to go 64 kg for those championships. At 60 kg it was more speed, when you jump up a division it’s more power. I knew I would not have the power to stay in the ring with those fellows so I knew I had to block their power and capitalise on my own advantage – a bit of speed. I worked on my jab.
“Usually I throw my left hook but when you throw your left hook you have to go in and mix it and that is one thing I did not want to do with Phil. I stuck to the straight punching and in and out.’’
Connie Sheehan (Clonmel) put himself in line for a third national senior heavyweight title with a masterclass performance against David Maguire (Crumlin) in a one-sided semi-final which he won 19-4.
Sheehan never made a wrong move, scoring with sharp crisp punches and slipping the punches as Maguire came forward which was seldom.
Eric Donovan (St. Michael’s, Athy), the defending champion, turned in another classy display to outpoint Dubliner Ciaran Bates (St. Mary’s) 10-2 in the first lightweight semi-final.
“I felt confident and relaxed tonight,” Donovan said. “I sparred Ciaran Bates a couple of weeks ago and it was 50-50 but I knew what to expect. I knew he would come forward and I was able to cope with that. I did not panic. I think that comes with age.”
Tyrone McCullough (Illies GG) sprung a surprise when he reversed the decision of the Ulster championships by beating Ryan Lindberg (Immaculata) 12-11 (6-6) on countback in the featherweight semi-final.
In the first of the flyweight semi-finals Gary Molloy (Moate) scored a surprise 8-2 win over Ruairi Dalton (Holy Trinity).
Darren O’Neill got a clear run through to the finals when his opponent, Tom O’Donnell (Ballymun) withdrew from last night’s programme with a back injury.
O’Neill, the European Union middleweight champion, will fight either the European bronze medallist, Eamonn O’Kane, or the European Youths champion, Jason Quigley (Finn Valley) who meet in tonight’s semi-final.
Semi-Finals Flyweight: G. Molloy (Moate) beat R. Dalton (Holy Trinity) 8-2
Featherweight: T. McCullough (Illies GG, Donegal) beat R. Lindberg on countback 12-11 (6-6).
Lightweight: E. Donovan (St. Michael’s, Athy) beat C. Bates (St. Mary’s, Dublin) 10-2.
Light Welterweight: R. Moylette (St. Anne’s, Westport) beat P. Sutcliffe (Crumlin) 10-8.
Women’s Welterweight: J. Lyons (St. Francis) beat C. Connolly (Raphoe) 10-3.
Welterweight: W. McLaughlin (Illies GG, Donegal) beat A. Nolan (Bray) 5-0.
Middleweight: D. O’Neill (Paulstown) W.O.
Light Heavyweight: K. Egan (Neilstown) beat D. Hogan (Grangecon) 21-2.
Heavyweight: C. Sheehan (Clonmel) beat D. Maguire (Crumlin) 19-4.
Super Heavyweight: C. McMonagle (Holy Trinity) beat C. Devanney (Ballinacarrow) 10-3.