McCloskey knocks out Morrison to retain European title

Paul McCloskey defended his European title by knocking out Barry Morrison. via www.paulmccloskey.com

In Letterkenny, Ireland, Paul McCloskey successfully defended his 140 pound European title by scoring a seventh round TKO over game but outmaneuvered Barry Morrison.

In the early rounds, the two mixed it up quite a bit and the fight was nearly even.  However, McCloskey made two major adjustments starting in the third round.  First, the southpaw  focused on keeping his foot on the outside, which forced Morrison to fight off balance, as he appeared to be a bit confused by being unable to move to his left. Second, he started to time Morrison's slower punches, generally getting well out of the way of the shots and landing flush counterpunches.

In the fifth round, McCloskey really started to take over, forcing Morrison to take a knee after landing a right hook that wobbled Morrison.  Morrison came out more aggressively in the next round, but this turned out to be to his detriment, as it just gave McCloskey more scoring opportunities.  Finally, McCloskey knocked down Morrison twice in the seventh, prompting the referee to stop the fight.  After the fight, McCloskey called out Amir Khan, although it appears that there's very little possibility of that fight occurring in the near future. 

On the undercard, undefeated Andy Murray scored a ten round decision over John Nolasco.  Nolasco had once been a fringe contender, but has been very inactive for the last few years.  Still, Nolasco managed to give Murray some problems early, who despite having good heart and a strong motor, isn't that talented in any one way and has a fairly basic forward moving style behind a jab and two to three punch combinations.  After the fight, Andy Murray called out European titlist John Murray, which might make for a good bout stylistically, although I suspect Andy would be a bit out of his depth.

In England, there was a pair of upsets on Sky Sports.  Stephen Foster Jr. became the new European super featherweight champion, scoring a third round technical knockout over Leva Kirakosyan.  Kirakosyan reportedly had been winning the fight up to that point and even seemed to have Foster hurt earlier in the round, but Foster came back with a nice left hook to score the knockout.  On the same card, Anthony Crolla defeated Andy Morris for the English super featherweight title in a solid fight.  Morris was beating Crolla rather handily, but Crolla was able to come from behind with a seventh round stoppage.  

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