Derry super-bantamweight Tyrone McCullagh jumped to 9-0 with an impressive stoppage victory over previously-undefeated German Tom Tran in Belfast on Friday night.
Headlining Ginley Promotions’ ‘Danger at the Devenish 2’ fight night at the Devenish Complex, former European amateur medallist McCullagh was putting his own unbeaten record on the line in a bout scheduled for eight rounds.
But 27-year-old ‘White Chocolate’ produced a scintillating southpaw display to record an early win.
McCullagh dropped 25-year-old Tran – now 6-1 – in the fourth after a body shot capped a flurry of punches before referee Hugh Russell Jr stepped in at 35secs of the fifth to call a halt when the German came under further pressure.
A host of MTK Global fighters featured on the undercard.
Veteran Dublin cruiserweight Ian Tims was up first, taking on Romanian journeyman Gheorghe Danut.
Planning to celebrate Romania’s Great Union Day, Danut pledged before the bout to put up a big fight and he did just that as he marked Tims up over the Dubliner’s left eye early on.
In his first bout since a summer loss to current Commonwealth champion Luke Watkins, 37-year-old Tims appeared to tire early on but found a second wind into the fifth round.
However, Danut had the better of the sixth and final round en route to claiming a deserved 59-56 upset victory.
Belfast middleweight Alfredo Meli was in the next six-rounder, going up against Jade Karam of Johannesburg.
Meli, fighting for the first time since competing at the same venue last March, coasted through his bout with the southpaw landing straight left hands at will as he claimed every round.
Coalisland super-middleweight Taylor McGoldrick was the only debutant on the bill and he made a successful pro bow with a convincing four-round points win over Polish novice Michal Ciach.
McGoldrick looked comfortable throughout his first paid outing with the southpaw working off his jab to ease to a 39-37 points win.
Steve Collins Jr – son of the two-weight world champ – was looking for back-to-back wins at the Devenish following his victory over Edgars Sniedze last September and he succeeded in his mission, claiming a comprehensive points victory over Hungarian Istvan Orsos.
Collins – looking to rebuild following an Irish light-heavyweight title fight loss to Paddy McDonagh during the summer – was patient from the opening bell, jabbing his opponent and working Orsos’ body.
‘The Wolfhound’ became more aggressive as the bout went on, throwing powerful head-body combinations and dominating the remaining rounds en route to a 60-54 decision.
Another Dubliner, Phil Sutcliffe Jr, was up soon afterwards, competing in his first bout since suffering a contentious stoppage loss to Josh Leather last May.
Like headliner McCullagh, Sutcliffe was also taking on an undefeated German with Andreas Maier carrying a 7-0 record into their six-round light-welterweight bout.
The former Irish Elite amateur champion ensured Maier would not be leaving with a clean slate as Sutcliffe produced an aggressive performance.
The Crumlin native had Maier down after an exchange of blows in the opening round before the Kazakh-born fighter visited the canvas twice in the third – the latter knockdown the result of a body shot.
With Maier trapped on the ropes under a Sutciffe attack, the referee stepped in at 2mins 55secs of the round to hand the Dubliner victory.
Belfast welterweight Paddy Gallagher went in against a late replacement opponent – Nicaraguan Miguel Aguilar.
Gallagher beat Aguilar over four rounds back in 2015 and the former Commonwealth Games gold medallist claimed another points victory at the Devenish, this time over six.
The 28-year-old BBofC Celtic champion – fighting in his first bout since a tragic win over Gary Murray two months ago – was eager from the opening bell, recording a deserved 60-54 whitewash.
Danger at the Devenish 2 (Devenish Complex, Belfast) – MTK Global fighter results:
Cruiserweight, 6 rounds: Ian Tims (Dublin, 13-5) lost to Gheorghe Danut (Buzau, Romania, 11-26-7) PTS56-59.
Middleweight, 6 rounds: Alfredo Meli (Belfast, 14-0-1) bt Jade Karam (Johannesburg, SA, 9-5-2) PTS60-54.
Light-heavy, 4 rounds: Taylor McGoldrick (Tyrone, 1-0) bt Michal Ciach (Poznan, Poland,1-3) PTS39-37.
Light-heavy, 6 rounds: Steve Collins Jr (Dublin, 12-1-1) bt Istvan Orsos (Paks, Hungary, 16-43-2) PTS60-54.
Light-welter, 6 rounds: Phil Sutcliffe Jr (Dublin, 14-2) bt Andreas Maier (Menden, Germany via Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan, 7-1) TKO3.
Welter, 6 rounds: Paddy Gallagher (Belfast, 13-3) bt Miguel Aguilar (Barcelona, Spain via Nicaragua) 11-39-1 PTS60-54.
Super-bantam, 8 rounds: Tyrone McCullagh (Derry, 9-0) bt Tom Tran (Liebenau, Germany, 6-1) TKO5.