Martin Harkin won the Celtic welterweight title in devastating fashion on Friday night as he knocked out opponent, Ally Black from Kirkintilloch, in the fourth round.

The main event was originally scheduled to be a Celtic and Scottish welterweight title bout between former amateur foes Harkin and Stewart Burt. However an injury to Burt meant he had to withdraw and former Scottish champion Ally Black was on hand to step in and take the challenge for an opportunity to grab the Celtic belt.

Recently, Scottish boxing promoters have been cursed by last minute cancellations and pull outs, but on this rare occasion the replacement fight did not disappoint.

The opening round was close as Martin displayed a strong jab, looking to set up combinations whilst Ally used good movement around the ring, occasionally throwing in some quick combinations.

The second round told a different story as Harkin showed complete dominance, dropping Black with a huge overhand right, he bounced back up for the count, despite being hurt to prove he was still in the fight. Despite the Dumbarton boxer stalking his opponent and connecting with some huge uppercuts, he couldn’t get his man out of there and he was saved by bell to signal the end of the round.

Showing incredible heart, Ally Black responded in the third round as if he had never been hurt, starting the round fast and had some success with some sharp combinations to keep a tired-looking Martin at bay.

The success was short-lived as the soon-to-be champion looked recharged and focused, beginning to time his shots well. Harkin eventually landed a thunderous left hook that sent Black to the canvas and it was immediately clear he would not be continuing.

A jubilant Martin had to put celebrations on hold, as the severity of the knockout became evident and Ally remained on the canvas surrounded by doctors. Thankfully, he rose to his feet after several minutes and was met with a huge applause from the concerned spectators.

Stewart Burt was supposed to share the ring with Martin on Friday, but instead he was sat ringside watching his potential future opponent. With the pair sitting at one win a piece from the amateurs, a potential professional rubber match with two championship belts on the line could make for a fantastic future fight. Along with Dean Sutherland recently winning the BUI Celtic Title, a Scottish welterweight ‘round robin’ could be the perfect opportunity to propel one on to a shot at British Lonsdale belt. After the fight, Martin was obviously in great spirits:

“I’m feeling good, delighted to finally win the belt! It was great to win with a knockout like that. Although I started to get really worried when the paramedics came in and he wasn’t getting up.  Thankfully he was fine and his health is well.  But that’s the statements I want to send out to my weight class, I can’t wait to defend this belt. “

Another Scot looking to make his way into British title contention is super-bantamweight Joe Ham, who featured on the undercard in a stay-busy fight against Jerson Larios. From the opening bell, Joe stalked his opponent around ring, throwing every shot looking to punish the Nicaraguan, before eventually catching him with his signature left hook to the body. It appeared he wasn’t going to get up but made the nine count and bought himself a couple more seconds to retrieve his gum shield. The bout continued but as soon as Joe began another onslaught, the referee stepped in and waved off the contest, giving Ham a first round stoppage. Joe has established himself as a seasoned pro in the Scottish scene, any young prospects looking up to him should take note – that’s how you should deal with lower level opponents.

Before that the crowd were left bewildered as Glasgow lads Scott McCormack and Steven Macguire faced off in a four rounder. From the opening bell until the end, neither man stopped moving or throwing punches but without much intent. I overheard a spectator saying they felt like they were ‘watching a playground fight’ and it seemed an accurate description. Local boxer, Scott won the bout on points 39-38, although a draw would have felt a fair result for the bizarre contest.

Opening the night of boxing was the popular lightweight prospect, Regan Glackin. Standing in the other corner was Plymouth’s Chris Adaway, who looked significantly bigger than Regan. Throughout the fight, the Scot was clearly enjoying himself, even mocking his opponent with the Billy Joe Saunders search as he missed a punch. Although Chris returned the taunt in the following round. The journeyman had very occasional success catching Regan with his reach advantage but overall it was a fine display by ‘The Shark’ as he showcased a great variety of work and different combinations. He had his man shook in the fourth and final round, however the tough experienced Englishman managed to see it out and Regan picked up the points victory, 40-36.

Morrisons Promotions have a reputation of being ‘old school’ with a minimal social media presence and there was very little push on the event. It makes you question the longevity of that model, however, as I stood in the hall packed with satisfied fans after an entertaining night of boxing, it could well be a case of ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’.

Report by Allen Payne