By Alexey Sukachev
Odyssey Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland - Rapidly coming into his own, Carl "The Jackal" Frampton (17-0, 12 KOs) took another step towards a shot at a legitimate world title after a sixth-round knockout of Frenchman Jeremy Parodi (35-2-1, 9 KOs). The fight was labeled an IBF world title eliminator. Frampton also retained his IBF I/C and European super bantamweight titles (he also holds the Commonwealth belt at the 122 lbs).
The message was clear, and the outcome of the fight was never in question, as Frampton immediately showed who was the host and who was a guest. Moving quick and throwing wicked blows, Frampton immediately forced his light-hitting foe into retreat. Parodi moved well and landed occasional jabs but perception was he couldn't sustain the pressure for all twelve rounds. However, the Frenchman did better in the second, though losing it, and avoided danger of being iced during the next round. In the fourth, the IBF #3, WBC #7, WBA #11 and WBO #14 Irishman increased the tempo, and Parodi's game started to fall apart. He was competitive in the fourth and in the fifth but Frampton landed punches with more conviction. Parodi's left eye was bleeding and he wasn't very stable on his feet.
The end came late in the sixth, when Frampton followed his left uppercut to the chin with another left hook to the body. With a delayed reaction, Parodi took a knee and failed to beat the count of ten. Time of the stoppage was 2:59. Next for Frampton is... a marriage with his fiancee Christin and the upcoming honeymoon.
"We're looking for the winner of the Dec. 21 IBF fight between the champion Kiko Martinez and the challenger Jeffrey Mathebula. We want this fight in Belfast!" - proclaimed IBHOF entrant and Frampton's guide Barry McGuigan in front of a roaring local crowd. Frampton fought and stopped Martinez in nine earlier this year - also in Belfast.
In a very vicious, rugged battle between two light-hitting but determined fighters, Irishman Eamonn O'Kane (11-1, 3 KOs) scored a close unanimous decision over ex-EBU titlist Kerry Hope (19-6, 1 KO) to acquire a vacant IBF I/C title in a middleweight class. Scorecards read as follows: 114-113, 116-112 and 118-111 - for the local hero.
O'Kane started rapidly, pressing action against defensive-minded Hope, who has recently shrugged off some rust in a four-round win over Max Maxwell. Yet, Hope looked quite sluggish though he had some success putting a mouth under O'Kane's left eye. In the second round and later on, Hope was able to force the Irish fighter into some ugly activities to slow the tempo down and to begin using his boxing skills more. All in all the first half of the fight was rather even.
As the contest progressed, Hope started to lose energy, while O'Kane grew big in the seventh and in the eighth stanzas, landing multiple jabs, pinning Hope from pillar to post. Hope's cornermen were ready to put their fighter off, but the Welshman not only survived the onslaught - he was also credited with a debatable knockdown after pushing O'Kane down in a clinch. Both combatants have their all in the closing rounds, and Hope was one who preserved more energy to put O'Kane in danger of being stopped on his feet. Yet both fighters made it to the final bell. BoxingScene had it 114-113 - for O'Kane.
Super flyweight Jamie Conlan (10-0, 6 KOs), whose brother Michael is fighting hard in Almaty at the 2013 world amateur championship, easily went through horribly overmatched Argentinean late sub Walter Rojas (20-4, 19 KOs) in just 115 seconds. All of Rojas' wins came against pathetic opposition, and he was stopped badly three times he tried to step up. Conlan dropped Rojas with a combination of punches, then decked him with a jab. On a second knockdown, referee Michael Alexander waved the fight off on a suggestion of the Argentinean's corner.
Marco McCullough (8-1, 5 KOs), fighting the hardest opponent of his short career, took a giant step-up in class by defeating former European champion and ex-WBA world title challenger Willie Casey in a bid for a vacant Irish featherweight title. McCullough stopped Casey (now 14-3, 9 KOs) at 2:45 of the ninth round.
The young Irishman started confidently against an experienced but well too rusty opponent (Casey has been out of the ring since July 2012), landing hard jabs and right uppercutsin the opening stanza. Willie, also a former Prizefighter champion, evened things up in the next couple of rounds but it was in the midst of the bout, where McCullough's size and freshness advantage started to tell. He was more active than Casey, landed more and harder than the veteran. Casey gave as much as he took but his power was vanishing rapidly, and he got weaker with each fought round. Finally, in the ninth, McCullough hurt Casey with several hard shots, then landed a big right hand to send him crashing down. Casey beat the count but was stopped soon thereafter on several unanswered shots.
Hard-hitting 21-year old bantamweight prodigee Ryan Burnett (3-0, 3 KOs), nursed by non other than Ricky Hatton, easily dispatched Nicaraguan veteran Reynaldo Cajina (13-18-3, 10 KOs) in two. Murderous right hands of Burnett did all work for him, delivering unsustainable damage to both floors of Cajina. Midst into the second, Burnett trapped the Nicaraguan in the corner and finished him off in style, dropping to the canvas. Cajina got up but was in no position to continue. Time was 1:52.
In a shocker, 24-year old professional loser Pavels Senkovs (3-64-5, 3 KOs) delivered the fight of his life and knocked out previously undefeated banger James Tennyson (8-1, 7 KOs) in the fifth round. Senkovs, 24, shots extremely seldom, but when he does, someone is definitely going to be hurt.