Draw frustrates Belfast battler Magee

Belfast man Brian Magee admitted "I was certain that I had won it", after his British light-heavyweight title clash with Tony Oakey ended in a majority draw at the Point Depot last night.

Belfast man Brian Magee admitted "I was certain that I had won it", after his British light-heavyweight title clash with Tony Oakey ended in a majority draw at the Point Depot last night.

Oakey's first defence of his crown was a decidedly shaky one in the first ever British title fight to be held in the Republic of Ireland.

An awkward, scrappy battle, the fight was a long hard slog for both fighters and could have gone either way in the end.

But Magee was left feeling aggrieved as despite Oakey not winning on any of the three judges' scorecards, the Portsmouth-based champion held onto his belt.

Terry O'Connor and Ian John Lewis both scored the fight 114-114, while the third judge Micky Vann had Magee the winner at 116-113.

"I was certain that I had won it," insisted Magee, the 32-year-old former IBO super middleweight champion.

"I don't know how they came up with a majority draw because I felt for most of the rounds I was catching him cleanly. They'll have to order an immediate rematch and I'll just have to beat him again."

Oakey attacked with vigour in the opening rounds but Magee's defensive skills came to the fore and the home fighter gradually came into the bout, picking his shots well.

But dogged by constant holding, the quality of the bout lessened as the rounds went on and a lack of clean shots did little to inspire the 8,000-strong crowd who booed the majority draw verdict at the finish.

Oakey insisted afterwards: "To win the title from the champion, you have to grab it and Magee didn't do that. He was fighting for 30 seconds but I was working for three minutes every round.

"Credit to Magee. He gave me one of my hardest fights and I'm happy enough to do a rematch."

On the undercard last night, Dungiven light welterweight Paul McCloskey chalked up his twelfth straight win as a professional as he comfortably out-pointed Italy's Alfredo Di Feto, who hit the canvas in the seventh round.

The reigning Irish middleweight champion Matthew Macklin was also impressive in his dismissal of Leeds-based Darren Rhodes.

Macklin, who was born in Birmingham but has strong Tipperary roots, took his record to 19-2-0 with a fourth round stoppage of Rhodes and was boosted by having his good friend Ricky Hatton, the undefeated two-time IBF and IBO light welterweight champion, working his corner.

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