McCrory Loses to Roach in brave WBA title Belt Bid

Feargal McCrory went out on his shield at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington DC as his brave bid to dethrone WBA super-featherweight champion Lamont Roach ended in the eighth round.

It was the big homecoming for the DC native, having got past Hector Luis Garcia last November to win the belt.

His maiden defence was designed to be a showcase and invitation for unifications, but he had to work for it as the county Tyrone man had his own ambitions and gave all he could in an effort to secure the upset.

McCrory was not able to avail of this opportunity, but he could not have given any more as his corner pulled him out after the accumulation of punches eventually became too much.

Not that the contest was one-way traffic. To cause the shock, it was imperative the Coalisland boxer jumped on the champion to negate his attributes of speed and skill.

From the start, McCrory marched forward in an effort to impose his frame and make this a fight at close quarters, not just to apply pressure but to give Roach little room for manoeuvre.

But like all good champions, Roach found a way. Although ruffled early on, he adjusted, managed to force McCrory one step back so he could do likewise and land a sharp right with the separation he required.

He transferred from the ribs to head in the second - a prelude of things to come - and scored the first of his knockdowns in the third.

In fairness, it was of the flash variety as he appeared to catch McCrory a little off balance, but there was no doubting the damage in the fourth as an uppercut unlocked the door to a sickening shot to the ribs.

McCrory rose but went down again shortly after to the same shot that resulted in a 10-7 round which he did well to see out as he gasped for air.

The promises of leaving it all in the ring were no idle threat as somehow McCrory went straight at the American in the fifth - yet, tellingly, his right arm was glued to his ribs - a sign there was real damage and it did not go unnoticed.

His brave bid continued, but by the eighth and with that arm by his side, Roach could tee off with the left as McCrory remained upright, his chin unprotected, and his corner knew there was no way back, signalling enough was enough.

The Tyrone man will emerge from this with a lot of credit, but that is cold comfort as he was here for the belt.

As for Roach, he wants more and his immediate thoughts are towards a showdown with one of the division's other champions.