By Jay Mwamba
Martin O’Malley outboxed Texas lightweight Jesse Gutierrez over 10 rounds at the Emerald Queen Casino in Tacoma, Wash., last Saturday to improve his pro record to 19-1 (14 KOs) in front of 2,100 fans.
On the comeback trail after his loss last year to the Romanian-born Leonard Dorin, who now holds the World Boxing Association crown, O’Malley utilized a superior jab to control the tough Texan after a head butt had opened a cut over the young Irish-American’s right eye. It later required six stitches to close.
“We were mixing it up in the inside and from the way the doctor was looking at it I thought that they would stop it,” O’Malley said.
The 26-year-old decided to stay on the outside and box the 5-foot-6 Gutierrez, although the two fighters went toe-to-toe on a couple of occasions.
Gutierrez was hurt during one of those exchanges, in the fifth round, but managed to hang on.
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“He was tough. He takes a good shot,” said O’Malley, who hails from Edmonds, Wash., via County Wicklow. “I had him staggered pretty good one time but he stayed on his feet.”
With a 3-inch height advantage over his opponent, O’Malley’s left jab was critical in disrupting Gutierrez’s rhythm.
“I showed him different variations of the jab and I could see that it was stopping him from setting [his punches] by breaking up his rhythm,” he said.
“It’s the first time I’ve gone 10 rounds and I was in good shape.”
Gutierrez went into the fight having won eight of his last nine fights. He left with a 17-7-1 record (9 KOs). The 25-year-old’s only loss during that period was against the then unbeaten Lamont Pearson in a United States Boxing Association super featherweight title fight last October.
This was O’Malley’s second fight since his TKO defeat by Dorin last summer. He outpointed Rudolfo Lunsford over eight grueling rounds at the Emerald Queen Casino last March to end an eight-month layoff.
“I want to stay busy,” he said. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a knockout, [but] I’m winning these fights handily and that’s what counts.”
Dorin’s camp has reportedly informed O’Malley’s promoter that the WBA champ would offer the young prospect a rematch — with the title possibly at stake — if he earns a top-10 ranking.
O’Malley hopes to continue working toward this by returning to the ring in next six to eight weeks, once the cut heals completely.
In his corner last Saturday was former world lightweight champion Greg Haugen, who has assumed most of the coaching responsibilities, including some sparring.
“I’m learning new stuff from him all the time,” O’Malley said.