Billy Lyell Upsets John Duddy - What Now For The Irishman?

John Duddyby James Slater - Last night, in Newark, New Jersey, little-known Billy Lyell of Youngstown, Ohio scored a career-best win as he took away the unbeaten record of Ireland's John Duddy. Winning a split decision after ten good action rounds, the 24-year-old prevailed by scores of 98-92 and 97-93, with Duddy getting a 96-94 nod on the card of the third judge. Improving to 19-7(3), the Jack Loew-trainer Lyell can now look ahead to a big fight and a big payday well earned. As for 29-year-old Duddy, who fell to 26-1(17), it may be a long road back.

Going into what was supposed to be nothing more than a tune-up fight for crowd-pleaser Duddy, Lyell's trainer Jack Loew - who, of course, also trains the world middleweight king Duddy was aiming for a shot at, in Kelly Pavlik - said the favourite was taking the fight too lightly. He was proven to be correct. Landing right hands throughout the ten-rounder, Lyell found Duddy to be lethargic and somewhat easy to hit as he out-worked the would-be world title challenger. Both men suffered cuts in the pleasing affair - Duddy around his left eye and Lyell over his nose..

Reportedly, after the fight Duddy skipped the post-fight press conference so as to pay a visit to the hospital to get his cut eye checked out. A victorious Lyell attended the press conference, and he was congratulated by Duddy's trainer Pat Burns.

"It was one hell of a fight and it could have gone either way," Burns said. "It was very, very close and a very tough fight from start to finish. I don't know how the guy [Lyell] had seven defeats."

Indeed, the 24-year-old's record is a little misleading. Stopped just three times as a pro - two of these stoppages coming against big punchers, in James Kirkland (TKO by 8) and David Lopez (TKO by 5) - Lyell has mixed it with some good men. Sure, Lyell had lost all his big fights going into last night's bout - also dropping a points loss to Yori Boy Campas - but he had proven he was a tough and capable fighter. At just 24 years-of-age, and a pro for less than six years, Lyell may well go on to achieve something even bigger in his career.

Duddy, though, was a big disappointment. Exposed, his critics said, in his winning fight against Walid Smitchet, Duddy looked to have worked on his defence since being busted up by the Canadian-based trier. Certainly, for the first nine rounds of his last win, on points over Matt Vanda, Duddy looked harder to hit. He was, however, caught and stunned in the final round back in February, and the warning signs flashed once more. Now, in looking so easy to hit against Lyell, it appears as though the likeable and very popular Irishman will never be a world champion calibre fighter. It's a shame, as Duddy is exciting to watch and he shifts a boatload of tickets whenever he is in action.

He will come again, of course, but it looks like John Duddy can forever kiss a title fight with Kelly Pavlik goodbye.

Article posted on 25.04.2009

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