Brett McGinty gave Eraid Muihai a second-round count on the way to a place in the Ulster Elite middleweight final.
By Chris McNulty, Ringside at the Dockers Club
Muihai’s kidneys were on the receiving end of some piercing shots from Oakleaf ABC puncher McGinty, who booked a place in Saturday-week’s final against Fergus Quinn of Camlough.
Muihai, to his credit, recovered and, in the third-round, showed his own worth as he tacked McGinty with a three-punch salvo.
“Overall, a decent enough performance, but I’ll have to step it up again,” was the St Johnston man’s verdict.
Muihai felt the force of a ferocious left-right combination from McGinty midway through the opening round.
Earlier, the Oakleaf ABC man got through for a pair of stinging blows to welcome Muihai to the stage.
Muihai, literally, came out swinging in the second round. While Muihai landed a decent right hand early in the round, he did well to return to the stool at the end of a second stanza bossed by the St Johnston man.
A pair of crunching body blows swung McGinty into action and referee Ben McGarrigle gave Muihai a count at 2:15 in the second round.
By the end of that round, Muihai looked in trouble, but the bell offered solace, amid a flurry of punches that had the Ulster Intermediate champion wincing.
McGinty said: “I had a very good second round and was very surprised the ref’ didn’t stop it.
“It was the worst thing he could have done in the second round.
“Once you bust your tank, you have a long way to go. Unfortunately, the count was a bit late. If it was 15 or 20 seconds earlier, it could have given me a chance to get him out of there.”
Muihai was on home territory, the Dockers ABC man backed by a vocal support, but a sizeable contingent had made its way over the Glenshane to roar McGinty on.
McGinty responded to a loss against Giorgi Kharabadze in October’s Liventsev Memorial tournament in Minsk with an impressive UD win over Stephan Nikitin in Germany last month.
Muihai had his moments in the third round, but McGinty came strong again, once more doing his best work inside and landing the telling shots to the body.
McGinty – a two-time Irish Elite finalist – was beaten by Monkstown’s Aidan Walsh in the final at the last version of these Championships.
An eight-time Irish champion, McGinty has racked up plenty of experience with Commonwealth Youth silver and European schoolboy bronze medals among the many nuggets hanging in his Mongavlin home.
Now, he faces Quinn in the decider at the Ulster Hall.
McGinty said: “I just need to go one better. I’ve been training hard and doing all the right things.”
Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years’ experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.