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Gutsy Conlan defends WBO title
05 Jul 2015 01:01
Jamie Conlan survived two knock-downs to sensationally retain his WBO Intercontinental super-flyweight title as he beat Junior Granados at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday night.
The Belfast fighter looked set to be cruising to his 14th straight professional win when he was floored with a devastating body shot early in the seventh round.
Conlan just managed to beat the count and was running on empty as he defended himself with every ounce of his strength as he struggled to get off the ropes under a flurry of punches as Granados looked to finish the contest.
The 28-year-old somehow got off the ropes but took another count later in the round and then was saved by the bell as he managed to get back to his corner to regain his composure.
But Conlan responded like a true champion as he went on the attack to win the final three rounds and take the fight on a unanimous decision as he extended his unbeaten record to 14-0.
There was little to separate the two fighters in a tentative opening as Conlan kept Granados at arm’s length using his superior reach and maintaining control with his strong left-hand jab. Granados tried on occasion to stay low to get inside but with little success. Conlan had been speaking recently about fighting more on the back foot and was forced to put that into practice in the second round as Granados came out with much more intent, finding some success with a dangerous left hand. But it was another even round with Conlan also landing as Granados left himself open while advancing; Conlan’s right hand getting through more than once. The third round proved most enjoyable as a spectacle as both fighters stood and traded on occasion, with Conlan appearing to get cut on the nose, while also landing some strong combinations as he tried to impose himself on the game Mexican. And Granados kept coming forward in the fourth, and late in the round rocked Conlan with a big right which the Mexican tried to capitalise on as he put together a serious combination of punches, with one fine uppercut also hurting the Belfast man. Conlan, to his credit, fought well off the back foot and managed to land some nice shots as well but possibly lost the round. Conlan somehow appeared more composed in the fifth, keeping out of the shorter fighter’s range as he continued to come forward. And the Belfast man was timing his shots better now, and landed some clean punches, while mixing it up with two fine body shots that both appeared to knock the wind out of the slowing Mexican. And Conlan must have sensed Granados was slowing, taking the aggressive approach in the sixth, but the Mexican hit back and landed two clean jabs on the advancing Belfast man. But Conlan finished the round strong landing some fine combinations while staying out of trouble. The fight burst into life in the seventh as Conlan was floored by that fine body shot, which looked as though he might not recover from. And the Mexican sensed that this was his chance and went to work on Conlan, pinning him to the ropes. The vociferous Dublin crowd played their part to help the Belfast man recover from a second knock-down before the bell sounded to the relief of Conlan and his, no doubt, anxious corner. Conlan recovered during the break and went into attack mode for the next three minutes as he pushed Grandos around the ring, scoring freely, if not unduly troubling the Mexican. But it was a real show of character and the crowd kept the decibel level at deafening as they roared the Belfast boy through the final three rounds. Conlan punched the air in triumph at the end of the penultimate round, saying after the fight that he knew he had won the bout and just had to get through the final round. And the MGM (Macklin’s Gym Marbella) fighter easily worked his way through the final round to take the contest 96-92, 95-93, 95-93. “I just want a cup of tea,” said the Belfast man after the fight, who has just spent the last nine weeks at his Marbella base in the Costa Del Sol. And after what must go down as one of the fights of the year, Conlan certainly deserves it.

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