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Tuesday 25 September 2018

Most important win of Turner's career: Taylor

Michael Conlan lands a left jab on Luis Fernando Molina during their featherweight bout at Madison Square Garden, New York on Saturday night. Pic: Sportsfile
Michael Conlan lands a left jab on Luis Fernando Molina during their featherweight bout at Madison Square Garden, New York on Saturday night. Pic: Sportsfile

The career of Dublin heavyweight boxer Seán Turner is set to soar after he achieved a breakthrough win in Switzerland on Saturday night.

The 26-year old Shankill pugilist upset the odds when he stopped Kosovo born Swiss-based Arnold Gjergjaj in the Grand Casino in Basel in the eighth and final round of their encounter.

And just for good measure Turner - who was conceding six inches in height to Gjergjaj - was comfortably ahead on all three judges' scoring cards (69-63, 68-64, 68-64) when the fight was halted by referee Fabian Guggenheim.

Even though Turner had always maintained he would win, it was a victory against the head.

His 33-year old opponent had an impressive 30-1 record going into the contest and was fighting on 'home' territory.

Granted his limitations had been cruelly exposed by former World champion David Haye, who dispatched him in the second round of their clash in London's 02 Arena last year.

But Turner's own career appeared in jeopardy less than seven months ago when he dropped a points' decision to an unheralded Polish heavyweight Kamil Sokolowski at a show in Solihull in Birmingham.

But this win against a top ranked European opponent has the potential to transform is fortunes. Now coached by Pete Taylor, Turner's has elevated him into Boxing Rec's top 50 rated heavyweights in the world. He is now 12-1 in his pro career. Pete Taylor tweeted afterwards: "Best performance and most important win of his career. Proud of Seán, he gave everything tonight and over the camp to secure the win."

Meanwhile, double Olympian Michael Conlan wrapped up his first year in the professional ranks with a comfortable points' win in New York's Madison Square Garden to go 5-0 in his career. His previous four successes had been achieved inside the distance.

Conlan, who was returning to the MSG Theatre for the first time since his debut on St Patrick's night in March, had promised to knock out 29-year-old Buenos Aires native Luis Fernando Molina in the fourth round in their featherweight contest.

Outclassed

While the latter had lost three of his 11 pro contests he had never been stopped and though outclassed by the 26-year-old Belfast boxer he held on to that record.

Though he didn't deliver a KO punch, Conlan displayed his array of skills, switching from an orthodox stance to southpaw after the first round and repeatedly catching Molina with his snappy jab.

All three judges scored the contest 60-54 in favour of the Irishman and the fight statistics compiled by Compu Box backed up their decision. Conlan threw 547 punches landing 128 compared to Molina's 148 punches thrown and just 31 landed.

It was the first time that Conlan had boxed more than four competitive rounds since April 2015 when he secured his place at the Rio Olympics in the Venezuelan port of Maiquetia in the World Series of Boxing.

"Five wins, four KOs - I'd have liked if it was five KOs, but unfortunately not! I was happy enough to get the rounds. I thought I was going to get him out of there, but it wasn't really unfortunate because I want to move up to eight rounds next time, so it was good to get six in," said Conlan.

"I thought it was a nice and clean performance, I didn't really take any shots. It was probably more like my style of fighting, on the back foot and slick boxing. Sometimes I think I'm a better southpaw than orthodox. But I showed that I can switch it up and I can confuse opponents."

Conlan revealed that his left hand was sore after the fight but he insisted that this wouldn't interfere with his training plans for his next fight which will be back in Madison Square Garden on St Patrick's night in March.

"This is going to be my Garden," promised Conlan whose fight on March 17 will be the chief support for a World title contest at light welterweight between Jose Ramirez and Amir Imam. Conlan will now return to his home in Belfast for Christmas.

Meanwhile, after the disappointment of seeing his planned debut fight in the professional ranks in Madison Square Garden being aborted at the 11th hour last weekend, 18-year-old Monaghan welterweight Aaron McKenna got his career off to a winning start in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

He fashioned a comfortably 40-36 points' win over Travis Conley in a four-round contest.

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