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John Hutchinson overcomes Healy in Fight of The Night encounter

Buncrana’s John Hutchinson chalked up another win as he continued the flying start to his pro boxing career with a sensational points win over hometown favourite Gerard Healy on Saturday night in front his delighted travelling support at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on the World Title eliminator bill featuring Tyson Fury aired live on Channel 5.

The rugged 26-year-old endured a tough and torrid time in his debut victory this August in Mayo against Connacht fight Darren Cruise, but it was a different script in Belfast as Hutchinson’s improved fitness ensured that he was able to outwork and outpint the more experienced Belfastman in a 12 minute toe-to-toe war that earned the accolade of ‘Fight of the Night’.

Hutchinson, who boxes out of the legendry Breen Gym in Belfast, disposed with the usual ‘feeling out’ process as the green-clad ‘Buncrana Banger’ crossed the ring after the first bell, bobbing and weaving his way into close quarters and began to lash away at his foe. Healy immediately responded with a number of doubled up jabs and long right hooks in an attempt to thwart Hutchinson’s wave of attacks but the Donegal fighter piled forward laying on as much pressure as he could to take the first round.

The second round saw much of Hutchinson’s best work as the landed a number meaty shots at close quarters when Healy attempted to push the pace. The momentum swung back in favour of the Antrim man in the third round as Healy bit down on his gumshield and found his second wind.

Hutchinson needed to win the fourth and final round to ensure he maintained his unbeaten record. The action was more akin to a bar-room brawl than an Olympic Final in the last as both fighters were desperate to stake a final claim on the bout.

The pair traded blows in equal measure and heads clashed as the blood and thunder encounter made its way into the final minute of the contest. Hutchinson, roared on by a large band of Donegal supporters, then found an extra reserve to pin his opposite number against the ropes and fired off a volley of head and body shots which was enough to seal the victory in the eyes of referee John Lowey, who scored the bout 40-37 in Hutchinson’s favour.

“It was a hard fight and he was a better man tonight than his previous performance. But I thought I was the busier boxer, and when I did ‘box’ as I should’ve been I was quicker and beating him to the punch but I got drawn into a scrap and let the occasion and emotion get to me,” said a critical Hutchinson.

“I knew he was confident and coming for the win, but I was well prepared for this one. It was a true toe-to-toe fight and all-action, but I enjoyed it, I enjoy those types of fights more than I should and so do the fans but I enjoyed the result even more.

“It was another fantastic win away from home and caps off a great year for me, it can only get better next year and I have to commend everyone from home that came up for the fight and supported me because they really pushed me over the line at the end,” acknowledged the ‘Buncrana Banger’.

“The scorecards gave it to me by a very wide margin, but that doesn’t tell the full tale of the fight. Gerard and I are good friends and he is a genuine warrior and pushed me hard in every round. Some of his team weren’t happy with the result so maybe we might have a rematch sometime next year if there is any lingering doubts with his team.

“But we have our own plans and for now I will relax and enjoy Christmas. We have options to go and fight in England and even Dubai so we will see how those pan out and make a decision on the next step in the new year. I plan on it being a big year for me and hopefully I will start targeting some titles,” ended a jubilant Hutchinson.

photo by Kevin Finn