By Elliot Foster
Cristofer Rosales retained his world title with a stoppage win.
The Nicaraguan, who went to Japan and stopped Daigo Higa earlier this year to win the crown, stopped Paddy Barnes inside four rounds at Belfast’s Windsor Park football stadium, exclusively live on BT Sport.
Rosales’ team were visibly delighted with the victory away from home, as part of the supporting cast to Tyson Fury’s second return outing against Francesco Pianeta and Carl Frampton’s clash against Luke Jackson for the former’s WBO interim featherweight title.
Barnes, who was on the eight-stone limit at Friday’s weigh-in, started the fight well and had good spells in the second and third round before being scythed down by a Rosales body shot.
The shot took all the wind out of Barnes and sent him back to changing room, albeit being cheered by the crowd, disconsolate after the referee Victor Loughlin reached his 10-count.
Now, Barnes, trained by Danny Vaughan and a previous holder of the WBO European title at flyweight, will have to forge his way back to the top of the division.
Rosales will be licking his lips in terms of the number of mouthwatering showdowns he now has at his disposal with the likes of WBO king Sho Kimura, WBA champion Artem Dalakian and the IBF’s current ruler Moruti Mthalane of South Africa.
Also on the card, Steven Ward picked up his first title as a paid fighter with a points win.
The Belfast light-heavyweight picked up the vacant Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic title with a 79 points to 75 win over Stevie Collins Jr.
The fight was part of the supporting cast to Carl Frampton’s clash against Luke Jackson for the former’s WBO interim featherweight crown.
The fight kind of came and went, if the truth be told, with Ward -- trained by Jamie Moore and Nigel Travis in Manchester -- having the better of proceedings before getting his hand raised at the end of eight rounds against the Dubliner.
Meanwhile, Luke Keeler outpointed Dwain Grant ahead of a potential rematch with Conrad Cummings.
The Dubliner, who holds the WBO European middleweight title, took the fight, which was scheduled for eight rounds, by 79 points to 73 in a somewhat forgettable affair.
And Sean McComb impressed on his professional debut as he stopped Michael Mora inside the distance.
The 26-year-old, trained by Danny Vaughan in Glasgow, barely put a foot wrong on his bow in the paid code, ending the challenge of the visitor around halfway through the fourth and final round.
Boxing Scene understands McComb will return to the ring on October 5, exclusively live on BoxNation, as part of the MTK Global-promoted card at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast.