2007-05-25 / Sports

Duddy Gets Sluggish Victory In New York Farewell

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

The present state of boxing has caused much of the interest and the attention of the casual fan to waver. With stars needed to replenish the fight game, pundits are searching high and low for viable candidates.

John Duddy is one of those prospects seemingly headed to stardom and the Derry County born middleweight fighter kept his unbeaten streak alive. The Irish Ropes boxer pulled off his 20th consecutive win by defeating Dupre Strickland in a 10-round unanimous decision last Friday night at the Beacon Theatre in Manhattan.

But for one of the few times in Duddy's skyrocketing career, he wasn't as convincing in his route to victory as in previous bouts. In most of his fights, he has displayed a dominant and exciting punching style.

The increased attention may have played a part in what he beleives is a subpar perfromance. Though this win was below Duddy's usual high standards, the win was important as he travels to the European continent to hopefully land a potential middleweight title fight.

His first matchup will be in Ireland where he is scheduled to fight Steven Bendall on July 14 at the National Stadium.

Duddy (20-0, 15 KOs) started out strong against the 37 year old Strickland (18-2-1, 7 KOs), as the WBC Continental Americas champion landed a knockout in the first round. With a shaved head that looked just as familiar as his favorite team in the New York Mets did a few weeks ago, Duddy was the aggressor in the first two minutes. He connected on a left jab to the side of Strickland's head and quickly followed up with a left hand to the jaw which floored the challenger.

Strickland shrugged off the knockdown and after that occasion, Duddy seemed to lose focus and direction in his approach to the fight. Without much resistance from Strickland however, Duddy would cruise to victory but he wasn't pleased with the effort.

"It looked like he was just glad to survive but I think it was a very lackadaisical performance for myself," Duddy admitted after the fight. "I don't think it was a professional performance but I got ten rounds under my belt again. I'm getting there and it's going to be a valuable experience for me."

Strickland didn't display much punching power but he landed a left hook which opened up a cut on the side of Duddy's right eye in the second round. Duddy contended after the fight that the cause of the cut was a head butt. About 30 seconds later, the second cut opened up on the Duddy's forehead, which was clearly a result of a knock of heads.

Duddy's corner feverishly covered up the cuts and Strickland could not take advantage of the opening the entire night. Duddy says he is more than committed to improve the next time out and that his European tour will be brief.

"Of course I'm looking forward to going back (there) to Ireland. I'm going home and it's an inevitable thing for an Irishman to return there and fight at home," Duddy said

But at the end of the day, this is where it happens, New York City and America… This is my home."

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