On a historic day for Irish sport, Bernard Dunne realised his world title dream in stunning fashion, claiming the WBA Super Bantamweight belt with a 11th round stoppage of Ricardo Cordoba before a raucous crowd at The O2 in Dublin on Saturday night. In arguably the finest fight ever staged on The Emerald Isle, Dunne finally secured victory after dropping his Panamanian rival for the third time in the round, and the fourth overall with just one second to go in the penultimate stanza.
It was a quite remarkable turnaround given that Dunne had been on the verge of being stopped himself after twice being felled in the fifth only to be saved by the bell. Dunne fought majestically thereafter, though, and it had become obvious by the tenth that Cordoba had nothing left the give.
Indeed, the first time he fell in the 11th it appeared to be more out of exhaustion than anything else, the Panamanian stumbling backwards and onto his backside after a seemingly innocuous exchange whilst backed up on the ropes, however, it quickly transpired that Cordoba was out on his feet, Dunne flooring him again moments later, and this time with cracking left hook.
Cordoba, showing a warrior’s heart, somehow managed to scramble to his feet but he was merely postponing the inevitable and Dunne finished the bout with a sickening left to champion’s temple as he was leaning against the ropes. Cordoba immediately slumped forward onto the canvas and hit it hard. The bell sounded moments later but by that point the referee had quite rightly waved the contest off. Indeed, Cordoba required immediate medical attention after momentarily losing consciousness but, happily, the early reports were that he was merely suffering from dehydration and exhaustion.