By Jay Mwamba
Martin O’Malley outclassed former Ghanaian lightweight champion Awel Abdulai at the sold-out Yonkers Raceway last Wednesday to win a lopsided eight-round points decision.
The hard-punching O’Malley had Abdulai hurt on several occasions, but the tough African was able to hold on and take the undefeated Irish-American the distance for only the second time in his career.
The three judges scored the bout 79-73 (twice) and 80-72 for the 25-year-old O’Malley.
"He was durable. He came in in tip-top shape," O’Malley said after improving his professional ledger to 16-0 (14 KOs). "It was good in one way to get the rounds, but, of course, I’m always looking to end fights as soon I can."
O’Malley began landing combinations in the second round, leaving the 24-16-1 Abdulai, who turned pro in 1990, on his heels. He came close to dispatching his man, who was coming off an impressive draw with the highly regarded Jermaine Fields (21-1-1) last June, in the third round when he stunned the Ghanaian with a blinding left hook upstairs.
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"I hit him with the hook to the body and a hook to the head and his legs locked," O’Malley recounted.
He jumped on Abdulai, throwing shots, but the African grabbed on and was eventually saved by the bell.
The action followed the same pattern for the next four rounds, with O’Malley hammering his Las Vegas-based foe to the body and head and Abdulai covering up and trying to counter with winging shots.
O’Malley stepped it up in the eighth and final stanza, pasting Abdulai to the body in search of a late KO, but Abdulai survived the assault.
"I would have really liked to get the knockout and I looked for it in the last round, but Abdulai refused to oblige. [He] was a game opponent," O’Malley said.
"Obviously I was in command of the fight and had him hurt to the body a number of times throughout the fight."
The Edmonds, Wash., resident weighed in at 135 pounds, the same as Abdulai, who by the brutal pounding he took to the body, proved to be in excellent physical condition as well.
O’Malley was pleased at coming out of the fight unscathed following the cuts he received above his left eye from a clash of heads in his last bout, a fourth-round TKO over Stephen Owusu four months ago.
"I wasn’t hurt at all [in this fight]," he insisted. "I saw his punches coming."
He is tentatively lined up for another fight on Feb. 7 in Washington, D.C., and after that, his national TV debut on a special St. Patrick’s Day edition of ESPN’s "Friday Night Fights" on March 16.
In the co-feature at Yonkers, former World Boxing Association light heavyweight champ Lou DelValle (30-2) made a successful comeback after an 18-month layoff by scoring a third-round KO over veteran Earl Butler (20-12-2).