Light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (10-0, 6 KOs,) defeated Anthony Pietrantonio (7-8, 6 KOs) by fifth round TKO at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.
Entering the ring to an Irish medley that included songs like “The Rising of the Moon” and “Sean South From Garryowen,” Monaghan, clad in green, looked ready for action.
The tattooed and red-trunked Pietrantonio was waiting for him and the two fought a very close first round, with Pietrantonio marking up the Irish American's face with left hooks. Monaghan came back into the round later on with a few powerful overhand rights, but he lost the first stanza on two of the three judges’ scorecards.
Monaghan shook off his sluggish start in the second round and connected mid-way through with a left hook that had his opponent reeling in the neutral corner. A slew of punches had Pietrantonio staggering, and the exchange turned the fight in the Long Islander’s favor.
The theme would continue for the next few rounds, with Monaghan totally in control of proceedings and beating his opponent up.
Pietrantonio lacked nothing in heart, but he went into survival mode very early and shipped a tremendous amount of punishment throughout the contest.
The one-sided battering continued into the fifth round, with Pietrantonio spitting out his gum shield to try and get some respite. Late in the round, Monaghan connected with another good right that had his opponent hurt again.
A further barrage of right hands finally convinced referee Eddie Claudio to call a halt to the fight with 2:51 gone in the round.
“He gave me a harder time than I thought he would,” Monaghan told the Irish Voice on Monday night.
Monaghan wasn’t too impressed with his own performance immediately after the contest, but once he looked at tape of the fight on Monday he changed his mind.
“I watched the video and I was a lot happier after it. I thought my defense looked a lot better, and I moved my head a lot more,” he said.
Apart from a black eye, Monaghan emerged from the fight unscathed, and he hopes to be back in action either on the Margarito/Cotto undercard on December 3 at MSG or the undercard of Matthew Macklin’s December fight.
Monaghan also revealed that the management team of Irish light heavyweight champion Ciaran Healy contacted his team and wants to set up a title showdown around St. Patrick’s Day in New York.
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Monaghan is able to fight for the Irish title as he is a dual citizen, but he must have at least one eight-round fight to qualify for a title tilt. He wants to meet that condition for eligibility in his next fight.
“I am looking to have an eight round fight in December, take off for the holiday and then train for the 10-round fight on St. Patrick’s Day,” he said.
Monaghan said he spoke to Andy Lee about the Irish champion -- Healy retired after four rounds when he fought Lee in August 2008 -- and added that he would relish the chance to fight the Belfast man.
He was delighted with the support he received on Saturday night and revealed that it has not gone unnoticed.
“We have every promoter scratching at the door now,” he said, adding that he was confident that his manager P.J. Kavanagh would be working hard on finalizing his next assignment in the coming weeks.
Monaghan himself uses his impressive support as a motivational tool.
“When you have 500 people coming to your fights, it’s a lot easier to get up in the morning for a run,” he said, adding that that he does not want to let his supporters down by not being in top condition come fight night.
With 10 fights in 17 months, Monaghan is wasting no time in his professional career, and with possible fights in December and March, he is going to give his growing fan base plenty of opportunities to see him in action.
In other news, light welterweight Danny O’Connor (16-1, 4 KOs) defeated Bryan Abraham by unanimous decision at Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut on Friday night.
Meanwhile, light welterweight Dean Byrne (15-0), now London-based, beat Michael Frontin by unanimous decision after an eight round contest at York Hall in Bethnal Green last Friday. Byrne moved to England after spending several years at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Freddie Roach. The Crumlin man signed with Frank Warren and hopes to kick-start his career closer to home.
In news north of the border, Irish-Canadian Logan McGuinness (16-0-1) had a big win on Saturday night when he KO’ed Benoit Gaudet in the 11th round at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, to win the vacant NABA super featherweight title.
Finally, featherweight Patrick Hyland (24-0) has relocated to Marlboro, New York to start a new chapter in his professional boxing career. Hyland confirmed the move on his Twitter account, saying that he has signed a three-year deal with Final Round promotions. The 28-year-old is training with Tracy Patterson. More on Hyland's move to the U.S. in next week's issue.