Garcia: I’m ready for world title fight

LUIS “The Lion” Garcia said he will be ready for a world title fight next year after disposing of Byron Mitchell inside four minutes at the University Arena in Limerick on Saturday night.

The 22 year old former world junior champion is one of three Cubans who based with Team Thomas in Watergrasshill in Cork and while the other two are also big prospects he showed world class potential when stepping up to light heavyweight to take on Mitchell, twice WBA world super middleweight champion.

Mitchell, a 37 year old from Orlando, went down on one knee after a big right cross to the temple damaged his left eye 51 seconds into the second round and referee Mickey Vann was forced to stop the fight.

“He was my biggest opponent to date and it was a big step up for me but he did not land a punch,” Garcia said.

“I caught him with a lot of big shots and he was hurt.

“I think I will be ready for a shot at the world title next year. I just need a little bit more experience.”

His fellow Cuban, heavyweight Mike “The Rebel” Perez, chalked up his 12th straight win when he returned from illness to stop Pavel Dolgovs (Latvia) after just a minute and 40 seconds of their scheduled six rounder.

Perez was laid low for some time after picking up spotted fever from an insect bite while holidaying in Spain.

Martin Rogan, former Commonwealth heavyweight champion and, like Willie Casey, a former Prizefighter winner, returned after a year out with a serious neck injury to knock out Yavor Marinchev (Bulgaria) after just 2 mins 41 secs.

For his return – with two titanium screws in his neck – he has gone back to his roots at the Immaculata Club in Belfast to re-launch his career under his old amateur coaches.

“I learned everything in the Immaculata Club,” he said. I won my Irish titles and my Ulster titles with them.”

Anthony Fitzgerald’s defence of his Irish super middleweight title ended up a no-contest when the challenger, Lee Murtagh (Leeds/Belfast), suffered a bad cut to his forehead in an accidental clash of heads 47 seconds into the second round and referee David Irving had to stop the contest.

Super middleweight Brendan Fitzpatrick brought his record to three wins from three fights when he outpointed Kirilas Psonko (Lithuania).

Alan Donnellan, a Galway man who fights out of Limerick where he graduated from UL, scored an impressive points victory over Zahari Muitafchiev (Bulgaria) in an entertaining light middleweight contest.

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