By Jay Mwamba
The left side of his face a bloody mask from an accidental clash of heads in the opening stanza, Martin O’Malley passed a stern test of adversity last Friday to score a brutal fourth-round TKO over late stand-in Stephen Owusu in a lightweight boxing contest at the Elk’s Club in Queens.
On the undercard of the Rockall Promotions’ "Big Apple Fight Night," 1996 Irish Olympian Cathal O’Grady stopped Casney Truesdale at 1 minute, 52 seconds of the third round in a crusierweight bout.
O’Malley showed cool nerves and patient aggression as he systematically broke down Owusu — a last-minute replacement for Damian Brazoban — before icing him with a barrage of combinations 48 seconds into the fourth round.
A lightweight prospect who upped his ledger to 15-0 (14 KOs) while winning over more fans, O’Malley set up the finale with a magical left hook at the end of a brief exchange. The punch was so short and sharp that it deposited Owusu to the canvas with seconds remaining in the third round.
Owusu, who was born in the Bronx of Ghanaian parents, beat the 10 count but was damaged goods for the short remainder of the bout.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
O’Malley jumped on his still-stunned opponent at the start of the fourth heat and engaged him in a furious exchange on the ropes. A left and right combination left Owusu out on his feet and supined against the ropes as referee Frank Martinez stepped in to end the scheduled eight-round contest.
"I felt blood and said, ‘I don’t care. I’m going to get him out of there,’ " O’Malley, spotting two nasty cuts above and below his left eye brow, said later.
"If I have a guy hurt, I don’t give him a chance to recuperate. You only have a small window of opportunity."
The cut aside, O’Malley was never in any danger in the brief, albeit tense and dramatic, encounter. Owusu showed skills and speed that belied his 8-5 (6 KO) record.
"He was elusive," O’Malley said. "He’s a good fighter and [has] pretty good skills."
Owusu, for his part, turned out to be a bad loser and less complimentary of his conqueror.
"He doesn’t have more skills than me," he claimed. "My fault is that I was on the ropes too much."
This was the Washington State-born and County Wicklow-bred O’Malley’s third KO victory in five months. He scored a third-round TKO over Mexican veteran Pedro Garcia in Antigua last April and last July needed only one round to dispatch John Scalzi at Yonkers Raceway.
O’Malley, who remained on track for the North American Boxing Federation crown, promised to return to action as soon as his wounds heal.
O’Grady, making his American pro debut, was equally methodical in his win over Truesdale, a journeyman from Charlotte, North Carolina who entered the ring with a 17-23 record.
The 23-year-old dairy farmer from, Kildare connected repeatedly with combinations to the body and head, but couldn’t bring the flabby Truesdale to his knees until connecting with a pair of double right hooks to the ribs in the third stanza.
Said O’Grady: "He took a good shot [to] the chin, but he didn’t [like] it to the belly."
True, Truesdale was dropped three times by hooks to the midriff in the third round before referee Peter Santiago called a halt to the proceedings.
O’Grady was ecstatic at the victory that upped his record to 14-2 (11 KOs).
"I really enjoyed that. That I had a loss in my last fight and really wanted to show people that I’m back," he said.
In the other undercard bout on the Rockall Promotions card, that was reduced to three fights by a blitz of last-minute withdrawals, Joseph Figueroa of the Bronx earned a six-round majority points decision over Washington, D.C.’s Kenny Head.
Tommy Smyth emceed the event.