Fagan calls time on boxing oddessy

by Stephen Findlater
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PORTMARNOCK man Oisin Fagan called time on a colourful boxing career last Saturday night in the wake of his second round defeat to Englishman Kofi Yates in the 3Arena.

The 40-year-old succumbed to the stoppage against the opponent 18 years his junior, currently with a record eight wins from nine outings, following a barrage on the ropes 1.23 minutes into the second round.

In his typical, come-forward style, Fagan took the fight to the younger man and pinned Yates back on a couple of occasions but was picked off on the counter a couple of times, taking a cut above his left eye in round one.

He was duly felled after a powerful right and while he came straight forward, Yates proved too strong to claim the opening bout of the Return of the Mack card.

In the aftermath, Fagan stated: “I just got beaten by a 22-year-old. I guess it’s a young man’s game. I think it is time for this old man to retire.”

It brings down the curtain on a hugely entertaining professional career, travelling a route much less worn. It started in Oklahoma after a soccer scholarship was cut short due to injury with Fagan turning his hand to boxing and ultimately taking on fights to help him financially.

As such, with minimal amateur pedigree, he debuted at the age of 29, notching up four wins from his first five outings in quick succession.

Fagan famously never shirked a fight and took on the soon to be hugely decorated Julio Chavez Junior in the MGM Grand just a year into his pro career in front of “a room full of screaming Mexicans”.

He lost on points but gained plenty of kudos. It led him to the Oklahoma state lightweight title in 2004 and he landed the Irish welterweight strap in 2006.

His all-action, aggressive style set him up for a marquee bout with Paul Spadafora for the IBF lightweight belt, only missing out on a split decision, the same manner in which he was denied the USBA lightweight strap by Verquan Kimbrough.

Indeed, the first time he was put down was against Amir Khan in 2008 when it transpired he had broken his leg in the first round.

A couple of wars followed against Eddie Hyland and Andy Murray before his career wound down but he still maintained his interest in ending on a high.

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