Jason Quigley eased to his latest professional win, stopping Finland’s Mathias Eklund in the second round.
By Chris McNulty, ringside at The Copper Box Arena, London
Unbeaten Donegal middleweight Quigley was much too strong for Eklund with the fight waved off one minute and three seconds into the second round.
Quigley was in charge of the opening round and managed to get by without his opponent landing a blow.
A telling left hook by Quigley was the beginning of the end for Enklund, who suffered a first stoppage defeat of his career.
With Eklund on the ropes, the Finnish puncher slipped to the canvas and the end was nigh.
As Quigley unloaded the gun again in a neutral corner, the referee stepped in to call a halt. It was as comfortable as could be for Quigley, who moves to 16-0 while Eklund drops to 10-2-2.
The Ballybofey manb was appearing on a UK card for the first time as a professional having had all 15 of his previous contests in America.
The 27-year-old returned from a year of inactivity – due to a hand injury sustained in a March 2017 win over Glen Tapia in California – to overcome Daniel Rosario and Freddy Hernandez last year.
A points win over Hernandez in October saw Quigley retain the NABF strap he first claimed in defeating Tapia. The durable Hernandez took Quigley the distance for only the fourth time in the Donegal man’s career.
This was a third bout for Quigley since his link-up with coach Dominic Ingle at the famed Wincobank Gym in Sheffield.
Quigley was led to the ring to a lively remix of Óró Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile, the same tune used by Steve Collins for all of the Celtic Warrior’s WBO super-middleweight title defences.
Eklund was held to a draw by former European super-featherweight champ Siarhei Huliakevich last month in Finland after losing to Patrick Rokohl for the vacant WBO European super-middleweight belt in October.
That defeat by Rokohl on a split decision was a first loss for the 34-year-old Eklund, fighting here for only the second time outside of his native Finland.
Quigley saw a possible challenge to Ryōta Murata for the WBA middleweight belt fall through in October while his camp had explored a Stateside title eliminator for this month.
The Ballybofey puncher, now based in Sheffield having sharpened his edge in Los Angeles for the first chapter of his pro career, noted pre-fight how taking the ‘right steps’ would hold the key in what he anticipates will be a ‘busy’ 2019.
He’s got it off to a winning start.