By Alexey Sukachev
The magic story of the heavyweight “People’s champion” Martin Rogan (12-1, 6 KOs) came to an abrupt end moments ago at Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, when the local cab driver was stopped on shut eye in the eighth round by Brit Sam Sexton (12-1, 5 KOs). Rogan started the fight aggressively imposing his will on the defensive opponent. Sexton came back strong in the second round, rocking the Belfast native several times with his sudden and powerful back-fire combos. Both pugilists were on even terms in the third round but the fourth stanza saw onrushing Rogan, 38, being just slightly better. In round five Sam Sexton, 14 years his younger, mounted another local comeback but in the huge sixth stanza Rogan looked much better almost dropping his tired foe after several monstrous rights. Unbelievably, the guest fighter was able to come back one another time in the seventh getting an advantage of the rapidly closing left eye of Rogan. Sexton was close to stop Rogan at the ending moments of the round. In another colossal turn-around, Martin Rogan with the completely shut left eye gave his all at the start of the eighth round to wobble Sam Sexton with a monstrous left hook and another right in the following. Sexton was saved by referee Dave Parris, who issued a warning to Rogan for hitting at the back of the head. He was wobbled again after another onslaught by Rogan and also lost his mouthpiece in the process. Fantastically, the local fighter showed an enormous sportsmanship not to follow with his punches and warned referee about the lost mouthpiece of his opponent. Immediately after the fight went on, referee Dave Parris halted the contest and let the doctor to examine Rogan’s left eye. After Rogan was unable to count the fingers right, the fight was stopped at 2:37 of the eighth round; one of the best fights in heavyweight division this year coming to an early end. Rogan, ranked #11 by the WBO, lost his Commonwealth heavyweight title after this loss.
Welterweight Michael Jennings (35-2, 17 KOs) came back with a bang after the February demolishing loss to 147lb powerhouse Miguel Cotto. Jennings knocked out previously unbeaten Willie Thompson (6-1-1) in the fourth round.
James DeGale (2-0, 1 KO), the most decorated amateur among prospects, recently signed by Frank Warren, did much better than in his lackluster pro debut. DeGale, 2008 Beijing middleweight gold medalist, made a sound statement, stopping Czech Jindrich Kubin (now 5-1 with 3 KOs) in the very first round of scheduled four. The Brit dropped his opponent with a huge right cross after just thirty seconds into the fight and continued to rock his considerably wobbling foe for the next two minutes. The bout was halted at 2:22 after series of hard right hands by DeGale.
Belfast veteran Neil Sinclair (32-7, 25 KOs) captured the vacant Irish junior middleweight title by stopping hard-hitting Irish native Henry Coyle (10-2, 9 KOs) in three rounds.
Light heavyweight Tony ‘Bomber’ Bellew is now 9-0 with 6 KOs after the one-sided four-round blowout of journeyman Matthew Ellis (20-8-1, 9 KOs), all of his losses coming inside the distance.