By Jay Mwamba
Irish heavyweight champ Kevin McBride scored a brutal one-punch third-round KO of Bahamian titlist Raynaldo Minus in Boston last Friday to secure a shot at the vacant IBA Continental Americas belt in October.
On the same card at the Roxy nightclub, Galway’s Martin Thornton stopped Manny Teo in the fourth and final stanza of their middleweight contest to record his first professional win. The 22-year-old Thornton’s debut against James McCrary last month ended in a technical draw.
Feeding off the frenzied energy generated by a largely Boston Irish crowd in the 1,900 capacity Roxy, McBride did some methodical work on his cagey Caribbean foe in the opening two rounds before exploding in the third.
The end came when Minus, who at 246 pounds gave away 9 pounds to the 6-foot-6, 255-pound “Clones Colossus,” opened up on the inside and rocked McBride with a big left hook.
McBride quickly recovered and retaliated with a vicious flurry that was punctuated by a thudding right hook that caught Minus on the left ear. The Bahamian spun around before hitting the canvas face first.
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He tried to beat the 10-count on wobbly legs but was saved from further punishment at 2:38 minutes of the third round by referee Dick Flaherty.
With the win, his 22nd via knockout, the 29-year-old McBride improved to 27-4-1. Minus, who paid compliment to the Irish transplant’s punching power by saying that he hits harder than big name heavyweights Michael Grant and Shannon Briggs against whom the Bahamian lasted longer, dropped to 16-12 (14 KOs).
“He said that he was going to knock me out, but when I saw the opening, I took it,” McBride said. “I knew by the third round that I had to watch him. He caught me with a couple of good punches. He was a great opponent and showed that he was there to fight.”
“He was no walk in the park,” said co-trainer Chris Bender, who has roots in Limerick and Belfast. “It was an exciting fight from bell to bell.
“We wanted the rounds, but you’ve got to get him out of there when you can because he was a dangerous opponent. I was happy with his performance.”
Irish champion since 1997, the Dorchester-based McBride entered the ring to the wail of a bagpiper and enormous acclaim from the huge Irish turnout at The Roxy.
“The crowd was awesome,” he remarked.
A full-time roofer until now, the heavyweight prospect returns to the gym next week after a brief vacation in Florida, to prepare for the IBA Continental Americas title match at a venue to be announced in early October.
McBride will face one of four likely opponents for the championship once held by heavyweight king Lennox Lewis and more recently relinquished by Lou Savarese.
And there’s a bigger prize should he prevail. Promoter Rich Cappiello says he has a verbal agreement from the handlers of
World Boxing Association champion John Ruiz, a Puerto Rican who calls Chelsea, Mass., home, for a title defense against the giant Clones native.