UK News: DeGale Inspired By Rogan; Munroe Defeats Martinez

James DegaleJames DeGale wants to fight on Martin Rogan's undercard after being blown away by the new Commonwealth heavyweight champion's defeat of Matt Skelton on Saturday. DeGale hailed Belfast hero Rogan as an inspiration following his KO win over the Bedford puncher in Birmingham. The 23-year-old received a mixed reception from some Irish supporters in the crowd, following his semi-final win over Darren Sutherland at the 2008 Olympics. But DeGale says he's looking forward to a possible fight at Kings Hall and converting the fans.

"The Irish love their boxing and to fight in Belfast would be an honour," said DeGale.

"The atmosphere for a Rogan fight would be absolutely amazing after what he did to Skelton on Saturday.

"He's a real warrior and it made me realise what I need to do to make it to the top in professional boxing.

"My opponent was very negative and it's hard too look good when someone is covering up all the time, but I won every round.

"I can't wait for my next fight so I can build on my performance on Saturday.

"People only saw a fraction of my potential in Birmingham. There's so much more to come from me, and I was straight back in the gym on Monday morning to work on a few things."

Meanwhile DeGale's 2008 Olympic team mates, Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders are also keen to appear in Ireland following stoppage wins in Birmingham on Saturday.

Gavin, also 23, has Irish ancestory with his parents coming from Dublin.

"I'd love to fight in Ireland, north or south," said Gavin. "Other than another fight in Birmingham, I can't think of anywhere more I'd like to box next."

Saunders, 19, added: "I used to watch tapes of all the great Irish boxers when I starting out as an amateur, and they were a real inspiration."

Details of the next show featuring the Olympians will be announced later this week.

Munroe Defeats Martinez Again For European Title

Friday night at the Metrodome in Barnsley, England, promoter Frank Maloney put on a fight card headlined by European super bantam champion Rendall Munroe's dangerous defense against Kiko Martinez in a rematch.

Martinez ruthlessly attacked the southpaw champion in the early rounds, forcing Munroe to weather the storm and bide his time until the hard punching Spaniard started to slow down.

After taking the best the former European titlist could dish out, Munroe came to life and began to prove his superiority in brutal fashion.

The bigger Munroe forced his challenger onto the back foot behind a campaign of energy sapping body shots before punishing Martinez with sizzling combinations from both hands.

Martinez spent the last two frames on the ropes where he was hammered into a defensive shell and showed tremendous toughness just to finish the fight on his feet.

Munroe, rated in the top 10 by the WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO, won the scorecards 116-113, 116-112 and 118-110, retaining his European title for the fourth time and improving to 18-1 (8), while Martinez loses his second bout, both to Munroe, falling to 20-2 (15).

In the chief support bout, blazingly fast Commonwealth light welter champ Ajose Olusegun, 26-0 (13), turned back the aspirations of English Champion Scott Haywood, 19-3 (4), beating Haywood to the punch throughout the contest and stopping the lanky Derby man in the seventh round.

WBC number 6 ranked London southpaw Olusegun keeps his hopes alive of challenge the winner of the upcoming Timothy Bradley vs. Kendall Holt light welterweight title unification bout.

Welshman Gary Buckland, 15-1 (5), regained the vacant Celtic lightweight title with a thrilling win over Scotland's former Commonwealth super feather titlist Craig Docherty, 22-5-1 (9), sweeping the referee's card 100-90 after ten rounds.

2008 Olympic Bronze Medallist Tony Jeffries made a superb start to his professional career by wiping out Belarus native Aliaksander Vayavoda, 5-13-1 (3), in short order, stopping the journeyman at 2:42 of the first round at super middleweight.

Jeffries wasted no time dismantling the import from Minsk, displaying the kind of form that will take him far up the ladder in the highly competitive 168 pound division.

Irish super bantamweight titlist Paul Hyland, 14-1 (4), overcame iron-chinned Ukrainian Nikita Lukin, 8-17-2 (2), in a six round firefight won by the Dublin stylist 58-57. 24 year old Hyland could challenge European bantamweight champion Ian Napa before the year is out.

A brace of four round bouts were also on the bill featuring the kind of competitive matchmaking promoter Maloney is famous for.

Light welter Dave Ryan, 8-1 (1), put the first loss to the record of Jamie Way, 8-1 (1), taking the contest on points, 40-37, while towering lightweight Tyrone Nurse, 6-0 (0), stayed on track with a 40-36 points verdict over teak tough veteran Baz Carey, 11-40-4 (3).

Bantamweight Ross Burkinshaw, 5-1-2 (3), and super bantam Mike Robinson, 4-0-1 (0), went to war and came out with a draw after four furious rounds and super feather Lee Selby, 3-0 (0), defeated Craig Johnson, 9-4 (0), by a mark of 39-37.

Sky Sports provided television coverage of the marquee events.

Article posted on 02.03.2009

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