Derry-born John Duddy returned to winning ways at the Garden last night after earning a unanimous decision over Jorge ’Michi’ Munoz, nicknamed El Matador. The 30-year-old Ulsterman, nicknamed the Derry Destroyer, was returning to the famous Big Apple venue following his first pro defeat in April and looking to line up a fight with 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 USA-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 jabs that bloodied the Northern Irishman’s nose, but after that early scare Duddy more or less controlled the eight rounder. 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 KO’s.
And while the explosiveness that highlighted their earlier partnership only came in brief passages, Duddy was delighted to have his hand raised in triumph following his split decision loss to 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, Irish Ropes.
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.
Duddy and Munoz met on the undercard 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, Lopez and Gamboa emerging victorious.
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. It’s great being back in the Garden and back in New York, said Duddy.
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.