By Jay Mwamba
YONKERS — Showing why he’s regarded as boxing’s next big Irish star, Martin O’Malley put on a display of skillful power punching to score a dazzling one-round TKO over junior welterweight John Scalzi in Yonkers last Friday.
O’Malley’s sensational victory capped a thrilling night of boxing on the maiden Rockall Promotions show at the jam-packed Yonkers Raceway hall that marked a renaissance of sorts for Irish boxing in the tri-state area.
Other highlights of the night included veteran bantamweight John Lowey’s gutsy decision over Marik McKay after an early knockdown; a sensational first-round KO victory by Galway native Colm Keane, and Rockland light heavyweight Joe Hughes’s bloody and brutal loss to Tyler Hughes.
O’Malley, who’s 24, needed only a minute and 58 seconds to chop down the battle-tested Scalzi and improve his professional ledger to 14-0 with 13 KOs.
"I had the opportunity to take him out quickly and I did," the smooth, hard-punching prospect said after barely working up a sweat.
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He stung Scalzi with his first punch of the scheduled eight-rounder, a sharp right to the head, and had him on the canvas with his second shot, a follow-up right.
Scalzi, an Altoona, Pa., resident who’s been in the ring with the likes of world titlists Hector Camacho and Zab Judah, beat the count and tore into O’Malley with some body shots.
But O’Malley gave a little grin of disdain at Scalzi’s offensive and countered with a vicious combination, punctuated by a left hook to the ribs that dropped his foe.
Scalzi staggered up again but was put out of his misery by a right hook to the head that sent him down for the third and final time. Referee Joe Santorpia waved it over without hesitation.
"I saw him running [because] he had to take a pound off, so I figured he’d be weak to the body," O’Malley said, explaining the furious body attack that had set up the last two knockdowns.
It was a highly impressive performance for the Seattle-born, County Wicklow-raised super lightweight who went up in weight to face Scalzi.
O’Malley plans to maintain a grueling one-fight-per-month schedule. He is scheduled to headline the second Rockall Promotions card at the Elk Club in Queens on Aug. 18.
John Lowey survived a third-round knockdown against Marik McKay to eke out a unanimous points decision after six punishing rounds and stay in contention for a Sept. 9 clash against WBO super bantamweight titlist Marco
"I’m a little ring rusty. Inactivity is hard to beat, but I’m glad to get the win," the 33-year-old Lowey confessed after being forced to dig deep in his first fight in nine months.
A former International Boxing Organization champion, the Belfastman dismissed his early knockdown as a balance shot. "I was actually moving away from the punch," he said.
Lowey, indeed, was up in a flash from the left hook that put him down, connecting with lead rights at the plodding McKay, who did most of his best work to the body.
The last two stanzas of the scheduled six-rounder were Lowey’s best as he boxed behind an effective jab to control the 31 year-old McKay and earn a deserved decision.
Lowey, now 27-2 (18 KOs), returned to Belfast last weekend to await final word on the Barrera fight. If he gets the nod, he’ll return to the U.S. to train for the bout here.
The presence alone of Hall of Fame trainer Lou Duva in Galway-born Colm Keane’s corner should have been sufficient warning for Brooklyn’s Kurt Shaka that he was in with someone special.
At any rate, the brawny Shaka got the message seconds into the fight when a short, sharp right by Keane decked him. The 21-year-old Irishman used another bludgeoned right to floor Shaka for the second time seconds later.
The third and final knockdown, from yet another right thrown a la Lennox Lewis, came at a minute and 29 seconds of the round, forcing referee Pete
Santiago to end it.
"He’s a great prospect and it’s a matter of time before he’s ranked in the light heavyweight division," co-trainer Lou Duva, who’s worked with some of the best fighters in the world, said.
During his stint in the unpaid ranks, Keane, who fights out of Boston, picked up three New England Golden Gloves titles and four Irish regional championships.
Crowd favorite Joe "The Terrier" Hughes lost a bruising eight-round contest to Tyler Hughes of Omaha in a super middleweight match billed as the co-feature.
Hughes, whose face was left a bloody mask from a deep cut above his left eye, showed terrier-like tenacity throughout the savage battle that referee Pete Santiago should have stopped earlier in Tyler’s favor.
Hughes, from Stony Point in Rockland County, dropped to 19-3 after the unanimous points loss.
In other undercard fights, ex-Irish Ropes ABC amateur star Fari Caba made a successful debut at featherweight, coming off the canvas against Ugandan-born Wilusimbi Kizito to win a unanimous points decision over four rounds.
Jersey City welterweight Michael Covington also got the nod on all three scorecards against Agustin Silva in an eight-rounder, while Carmine Tufano dispatched Erin Fitchett after two minutes and 20 seconds of the first round in a scheduled eight-rounder.