By Elliot Foster
Jamie Conlan edged closer to a world title fight in his home city.
But the Ulsterman, who won the vacant WBC Silver International super-flyweight title at the Waterfront Hall, exclusively live on BoxNation, certainly didn’t have it all his own way.
It won’t be the first time readers will have read that Conlan made a fight difficult and the 30-year-old ensured that this showdown against Nicaragua’s Yader Cardoza was no exception.
Cardoza was a good import who did what he was brought over to do –– give the home city man rounds –– but few expected Conlan to make is as difficult as he did.
Both fighters gave their all but it was Conlan, bloodied and bruised after the 12 rounds, who got the decision on the scorecards, despite being knocked down during proceedings, by tallies of 112-115, 114-113, 115-113.
Conlan moves on to a potential summer world title tilt with a record of 19-0 with 11 early, while Cardoza –– who was a live dog in the fight throughout –– slips to 22-11-1 (6 KOs) in defeat.
In the chief supporting contest, Paddy Barnes dealt with the challenges posed by Adrian Dimas Garzon to remain undefeated.
Barnes, who is now 2-0, was dealt a poor hand on his debut back in November but he went to points here (60-54) and will now look to move on towards titles as 2017 progresses.
In title action, James Tennyson knocked Declan Geraghty down twice –– heavily –– en-route to a sensational sixth-round stoppage to win the vacant Irish super-featherweight title and Tyrone McKenna went to war with Jake Hanney in a defence of his Celtic super-lightweight title.
The holder was cut early on in the fight and both were hurt but the referee called a halt to the action after two minutes and 10 seconds of round six, deeming Hanney in no position to continue after he took a barrage of heavy shots on the ropes.
In defeat, Hanney slips to 5-1 (4 KOs), while McKenna rolls on to 13-0-1 with five early.
Meanwhile, Lewis Crocker got his professional career off to a flyer.
The 19-year-old Ulsterman, who turned professional under promoter Frank Warren and already has a lucrative managerial deal with MTK Marbella, wasted no time in his first one in the paid code as he forced the referee to step between him and Ferenc Jarko after just one minute and seven seconds of the first round.
Phil Sutcliffe Jr. caught up with and got rid of Miguel Aguilar inside four rounds. The man who recently got the decision over Chris Jenkins had to weather an early storm from the visitor, taking a few unnecessary shots, but as the fight wore on his pressure told and the referee called a halt to the action following a sustained barrage after which Aguilar’s corner also threw in the towel.
Marco McCullough warmed up for his May 20 British featherweight title challenge against Ryan Walsh with a routine 80-71 points victory over former Kid Galahad foe Leonel Hernandez.
Con Sheehan went the distance with Ferenc Zsalek over eight rounds, claiming an 80-72 victory to remain unbeaten, while Steven Ward scored a 40-36 points win over the ever-colourful Curtis Gargano.
And earlier in the card, there were a pair of stoppage wins for Sean Turner and Gary Corcoran against respective overmatched opposition and Troy Williamson kicked off the card with his third win in the paid code.