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Disappointment for Dubliner Keeler as Andrade dominates Irish 'warrior' in Miami title fight

‘Cool Hand’ Keeler’s bid to become the WBO welterweight champion ended in defeat.

A valiant effort from Luke Keeler Stateside.
A valiant effort from Luke Keeler Stateside.

IRELAND’S LUKE KEELER fell to a ninth-round stoppage in Miami overnight, as WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade defended his belt with a convincing win. 

Pre-fight favourite Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) dominated, and was never exactly troubled by the Dubliner  (17-3-1, 5 KOs) at Island Gardens.

Just seconds into the opening round, the American floored Keeler, and did likewise with a hard left in the second. But he rose from early knockdowns and battled on, before being stopped on his feet in round nine.

“Luke Keeler is a warrior and a future champion one day,” Andrade told DAZN in his post-match interview. “I’m willing to go up to 168 to fight Billy Joe Saunders in my next fight.”

‘Cool Hand’ Keeler himself added: “It was my first fight at true world level and I think I completed at stages. I’m still learning from Pete Taylor, I’ve been a full-time pro for two years and I’ll take it as a lesson.

“If I wasn’t improving I wouldn’t come back, I want to be world champion and I really feel I learned from the experience.

“He hit harder than I expected. He is a great champion, he deserves to be there at the top of the Middleweight division but I did compete at stages.

“I didn’t disgrace myself and I’m going home to Ireland with some pride.”

A win would have seen 32-year-old Keeler emulate Irish greats Steve Collins and Andy Lee in securing the WBO world middleweight belt.  

In another bout carrying Irish interest, seven-weight world champion Amanda Serrano all but set up her highly-anticipated meeting with Katie Taylor after seeing off Simone Da Silva inside three rounds.

The undercard also saw Joseph Diaz (31-1, 15 KOs) overcome a gruesome gash above his left eye to capture the IBF junior lightweight title from Tevin Farmer (30-5-1, 6 KOs) via unanimous decision. 

Mandatory challenger Murodjon Akhmadaliev also staged an upset, dethroning Daniel Roman (27-2-1, 10 KOs) via split decision. And a Youtuber match-up saw Jake Paul beat AnEsonGib.

- with reporting from Omni.

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Emma Duffy

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