Duddy back to winning ways


Boxing:Northern Ireland middleweight John Duddy returned to winning ways at Madison Square Garden last night as he scored a unanimous points win over Jorge ‘Michi’ Munoz.

Duddy, 30, was returning to the ring following his first professional defeat in April and looking to line up a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in the new year as he bids to rebuild his status as a world title contender.

With Chavez Jr’s promoter Bob Arum at ringside for the Top Rank card, Duddy moved to 27-1 (17 KOs) and was rarely troubled by American-based Mexican Munoz, who had come into the fight with a 21-3 (13 KOs) record.

The biggest threat to New York-based Duddy came in the opening round when Munoz connected with a series of sharp judges that bloodied the Irishman’s nose, but after that the Mexican was never really a problem.

Duddy was fighting for the first time since reuniting with Harry Keitt, his trainer for his first 20 professional fights and under whom he had registered 15 of his 17 stoppages.

And while the explosiveness that highlighted their earlier partnership only came in brief passages, Duddy was delighted to have returned to the ring following his split decision loss to American Billy Lyell and after a six-month absence that saw him get married and also settle a long-running dispute with his former management company.

He was also pleased to have maintained his unbeaten record at Madison Square Garden, this fight being staged in the 4,000-seat theatre rather than the main arena on the under card of the world championship double bill featuring WBO light featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez against Rogers Mtagwa and WBA featherweight title-holder Yuriorkis Gamboa’s defence against Whyber Garcia.

“I’ve had a lot in my head with getting married and what not and I’m just glad to get back to this place called home,” Duddy said. “It’s great being back in the Garden and back in New York.”

On his return to work with Keitt after short-lived spells over two years with Don Turner and Pat Burns, Duddy added: “It’s the best decision I ever made in my life.”