BRETT McGinty bagged the first KO of his professional career in Coventry.
By Chris McNulty, ringside at the Coventry Skydome. Pictures by Lawrence Lustig
The St Johnston man dropped Teodor Nikolov in the third round of their bout at the Skydome.
A vicious right dropped the Bulgarian early in the third and the Ricky Hatton-trained McGinty sensed the end was nigh.
Nikolov was down and up again, but a third visit to the canvas saw referee Christopher Dean step in to call a halt.
McGinty nullified Nikolov’s attempts to spoil in the opening verse, the Donegal puncher making good use of his left jab.
A few stabs to the body asked questions of the blue corner’s heart as well as its stone.
If Nikolov’s punches weren’t exerting McGinty, the Bulgarian’s head was proving to be a potentially dangerous obstacle.
An over-eager McGinty settled towards the end of the second round and cracked a stirring right.
The bout was pencilled in for four rounds, but McGinty – calmed by Hatton’s instructions in the corner at the end of the second – ended the contest one minute and 17 seconds into its third stanza.
A boisterous crowd from the north west roared McGinty from the moment the arena’s doors opened, the 22-year-old getting a busy afternoon of action underway.
McGinty is proud of his roots and his shorts bore the crest of Oakleaf ABC, with whom he won a European Schoolboys bronze, a Commonwealth Youth Games silver and eight Irish titles.
The crest of Kildrum Tigers Football Club was also emblazoned on the waistband, McGinty steeped in the traditions of the St Johnston-based club, with whom he was a Donegal League double winner in 2018.
McGinty endured a 21-month vacuum as he flipped from amateur to profession. A points win over six rounds against Jan Ardon last December represented a tougher-than-usual debut and he followed it with a routine win over Dwain Grant in May.
Originally slated to meet Lukas Ulys, a change of opponent meant that Bulgarian Nikolov stood in the blue corner.
As well as his exploits in the squared circle, the 26-year-old is also adept in the octagon. As a mixed martial artist, Nikolov is 11-2. With that range of experience and skill, Nikolov might have been expected to ask some questions.