Dunne's reign ends in brutal fashion

 

Bernard Dunne suffered a crushing defeat in his first WBA super bantamweight title defence at the O2 Arena when he was floored three times in the third round by Thailand's Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym. The 29-year-old needed medical attention afterwards and was eventually taken to hospital but promoter Brian Peters insisted it was a "precautionary" measure.

Dunne was hurt, physically and emotionally, after being caught by some "heavy, heavy" shots, according to Peters.

He visited the canvas for the first time in front of an expectant home crowd after he was caught by shuddering left hook.

The Dubliner got back to his feet and gamely fought on but his opponent’s relentless pursuit paid dividends soon after with another left hook followed by an accurate right.

A funereal silence fell over the venue as he was willed back to his feet but there was nothing left in the tank and he was felled for the last time three seconds before the bell by another left and right.

French referee Jean-Louis Legland did not hesitate in stopping the contest, bringing Dunne's six-month reign as WBA champion to an end.

After receiving some medical attention and waving away the stretcher, an emotional Dunne addressed the audience and admitted he was “lured into fighting” by his opponent and that was his mistake.

Like he did in August 2007, however, after a similar defeat to Kiko Martinez in this venue previous incarnation, he vowed to come back.

“It’s going to take a long time to get over this but I will get over it,” he insisted, as a tearful wife Pamela applauded from ringside.

Poonsawat, the silent assassin, initially left the talking to his interpreter, but later admitted to being a little "worried" when Dunne was given a rapturous welcome by his home fans, though he said he knew early on he could win.

“He walked in the ring and I was worried because everyone was cheering for Dunne," he said.

“The first and second round I tried to get close to find out his style and after the second I knew I could beat him and just pushed harder and harder."

There was no doubt he deserved the win but Dunne will not be able to escape the feeling of culpability for some time.

Though he won the first two rounds, he was rocked in the second and was too ready to trade punches with a dangerous hitman.

He landed more than his opponent early on but the jabs did little damage. The more he let Poonsawat in, the more vulnerable he looked and his reign as world champion was ended in brutal fashion soon afterwards.

Where to now? Peters acknowledged that a move to featherweight is "certainly a possibility", before adding: "But I firmly believe Bernard Dunne will be back."