While Matthew Macklin suffered a heart-breaking defeat on Saturday night, his middleweight compatriot Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan staked his claim to be Ireland’s premier 160lb fighter with a brutal one-round knockout of Dubliner Anthony Fitzgerald at the 3Arena.
The pre-fight trash talk between the pair had meant the chief-support bout had a lot to live up to, but Mahon native O’Sullivan walked the walk after talking the talk.
Such was his confidence, he claimed he backed himself to deliver a first-round finish, living up to the prediction by flattening Fitzgerald with an uppercut after one minute and 50 seconds.
Prior to that, O’Sullivan had delivered his best Roy Jones Jr impression, throwing his hands behind his back in between peppering Fitzgerald with punches in a thoroughly dominant performance.
“I just knew I had the power. I’ve been doing mobility training and it benefited my power,” said the 32-year-old. “I just felt he’s a bully boy and I wouldn’t be bullied. I put it up to him,” he added.
The only sour point for O’Sullivan was the unseemly sight of Fitzgerald’s corner stool being thrown at the Cork native during his post-fight celebrations, an action denounced by Boxing Union of Ireland president and promoters Eddie Hearn and Brian Peters.
“I wouldn’t condone that. It looks bad for Irish boxing,” added O’Sullivan, who bore no ill feeling towards Fitzgerald, who was also gracious in defeat.
“I’ve invited him for a drink or a cup of tea later,” said the Corkman. “I wish him the best.”
That was followed by an equally clinical performance from Olympic silver medallist John Joe Nevin, fighting in Ireland for the first time since turning professional.
Nevin’s win arriving after just 88 seconds of the first round though his opponent Jack Heath already looked to be well out of his depth at that early stage.