/ Boxing

Dunne retains European title

Updated: Monday, 25 Jun 2007 18:09

Bernard Dunne lands a right hand to the side of Reidar Walstad's head
Bernard Dunne lands a right hand to the side of Reidar Walstad's head

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Bernard Dunne successfully defended his European Super Bantamweight title for the second time with a points victory over Reidar Walstad at the Point in Dublin.

The judges scored the fight 118-111, 116-112 and 115-113 in the Dubliners' favour after European number three Walstad showed remarkable battling qualities in spite of a deep cut over his left eye.

Some good punch combinations, with Dunne scoring well with his left jab, saw Walstad bloodied in the second round.

It was textbook stuff from Dunne who punched and moved with poise until the final two rounds when his older opponent started to connect with his right hand.

But the champion stood firm to chalk up his 24th straight career win.

After the fight Dunne said: 'It as a hell of a fight. It was a tough 12 rounds and I needed that. He was a hardy little whoer.'

Such a comprehensive victory for the charismatic Dubliner was the perfect preparation for his mandatory title defence against unbeaten Spaniard Kiko Martinez later in the year.

Dunne quickly stamped his authority on the contest, switching from body to head with accuracy and speed as Walstad marched forward trying to cut off the ring.

In the second round Walstad suffered a cut over his left eye which was to get increasingly worse over the duration of the 12-round beating though that did not deter him from seeking to trade with the champion at close range.

Dunne was clearly enjoying himself as he circled the ring and shot out his fast combinations, which had the sweat spraying from the Norwegian's forehead.

Walstad continued to press Dunne but simply walked into repeated hooks to head and body and clearly did not have the imagination and class to give the champion any significant trouble.

Shortly into the seventh round the damage around Walstad's eye worsened to the extent that the referee called the doctor to take a look but he allowed the contest to continue before moments later taking another glance at the severe wound.

Dunne mercilessly pounded the cut and Walstad's face was smeared in blood as he returned to his cornerman, who feverishly worked on the gash.

In the remaining rounds, Walstad had sporadic success with single blows but they were simply shrugged off by the champion who maintained a terrific pace and was never in any trouble.

Walstad, to his credit, soaked up the heavy punishment and kept on coming for more as Dunne displayed his array of combination punching.

Receiving a standing ovation going into the final round, Dunne forced the challenger to the ropes and unloaded a series of unanswered blows but Walstad still managed to make it to the final bell.

Now Dunne looks ahead to a much more difficult clash with number one challenger Martinez, a fight which will now go out to purse offers.

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