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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Nick Potts
# spiked
Chris Eubank Jr defeats Spike O'Sullivan after seven-round war
Eubank Jr is now the number one contender for Daniel Jacobs’ middleweight crown.

Updated 00.05

GARY ‘SPIKE’ O’SULLIVAN was retired by his corner after seven rounds of his bout against Chris Eubank Jr at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday night after suffering a suspected perforated eardrum.

Cork native O’Sullivan had produced a gutsy display, but was on the receiving end of numerous punches from his opponent, who dominated the fight.

Referee Terry O’Connor called a halt at the end of round seven following instructions from O’Sullivan’s corner, which was headed by trainer Paschal Collins, with O’Sullivan understood to have suffered his ear injury early on in the bout.

“Around rounds five, six and seven, he [Eubank] was landing heavy shots and one of those shots could have hurt him [O’Sullivan],” said Collins in his fighter’s dressing-room afterwards.

“He was behind on the scorecards, probably three rounds down and as the fight went on Eubank knew this and he knew Spike’s balance was off.

“I could see all this from the outside and I made the right call,” added Collins.

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The 31-year-old Mahon middleweight looked confident and enthusiastic upon entering the ring, gesturing to Eubank as the latter stood on the entrance ramp while the Cork man paced around impatiently in his corner prior to Michael Buffer’s introductions.

O’Sullivan had attracted attention in the build-up, kissing Eubank at the weigh-in and the visitor started the opener in similarly colourful fashion as he held his hands low.

After being caught with a short right hand from Eubank early on, ‘Spike’ brought his guard up before again dropping his hands and later catching a right hook.

A heavy left hand from the Cork man served as a reminder for the posturing Eubank before both fighters finished the round with showboating shuffles.

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‘Spike’ looked in real trouble in the second round after shipping numerous flush uppercuts from Eubank but O’Sullivan kept coming forward and survived the round. The Irishman then landed a lovely left to the body before seemingly hurting Eubank with a hook to the head as the visitor had a much better third round, punishing his opponent’s brief moments of cockiness.

By the fourth, O’Sullivan had seemingly abandoned any attempts at defence other than keeping his guard up when moving forward and while Eubank landed a couple of eye-catching combinations they were each greeted with a smile by the Irishman.

Eubank turned on the style in the fifth, landing a series of head-body combinations with O’Sullivan showing signs of fatigue and real damage for the first time as he grimaced midway through the round.

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Eubank started the sixth landing more big shots but his work-rate dropped slightly as O’Sullivan made him work.
However, by the seventh it was evidently a one-sided fight as O’Sullivan failed to trouble Eubank, leading to the Irishman’s corner opting to call a halt.

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O’Sullivan’s loss sees his record drop to 22-2, while Eubank’s improves to 21-1 as the latter moves on to a shot at a small portion of the world middleweight title.

“I’m not really happy being pulled out, I’ve never been beaten inside the distance in my life – amateur or professional – and it’s upsetting and disappointing,” said O’Sullivan in his dressing-room afterwards, although he admitted that he understood why his trainer opted to call a halt.

“I think so, I don’t think I was going to win. Paschal was thinking of my best interests, he always does and it was the right decision,” added O’Sullivan.

In the main event, heavyweights Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte produced a toe-to-toe slugfest before the latter was stopped in devastating fashion after 1min 27secs of the seventh round.

While the pair traded blows throughout, Joshua landed the punch that mattered – a thunderous right uppercut – to halt Whyte and claim the vacant British title.

Meanwhile, John Joe Nevin’s old rival, Luke Campbell, suffered a shock points loss to French lightweight champion Yvan Mendy on the undercard.

Hull native Cambell defeated Mullingar’s Nevin in the London 2012 Olympic final and subsequently built his pro record to 12-0 but his undefeated streak was halted in surprising circumstances.

The teak-tough Mendy floored Campbell with a big left hook in the fifth round of their bout and although the Englishman got back to his feet, he couldn’t turn the tide en route to a split-decision points defeat.

Former two-weight world champion Paulie Malignaggi (35-7) also featured on the card and the proud Italian-American took the vacant EU welterweight title after seeing off Italian Antonio Moscatiello (20-2-1) on a 12-round unanimous points win.

The nominees for the 2015 RTÉ Sports Awards have been announced

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