Michael Conlan, right, following his defeat of Miguel Marriaga, left, last August in Belfast. INPHO/GECZO LASZLO

BOXING: O’Rourke stops Johns in 7th Round

Shrugging off a bloody nose and cut left eyebrow, Ryan O’Rourke turned up the heat late at The Paramount in Huntington, Long Island, last Saturday to stop Dashaun “Too Sweet” Johns in the seventh round of their welterweight scrap.

In the light heavyweight division, Harley Burke, the other Irishman on the Star Boxing-promoted “Rockin’ Fights” card at the sold-out 1,573-capacity Paramount, lived up to his “Heavy Hands” nickname with a 4th round TKO of Kam Humphrey.  

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The entertaining O’Rourke-Johns bout, scheduled for eight stanzas, was in the penultimate round when O’Rourke dropped Johns with 20 seconds remaining.  Johns beat the count but O’Rourke, aka “The Silent Assassin,” went for the kill.

Johns survived that late assault but it was determined that he couldn’t continue and referee Pat Sullivan stopped the fight. It went down as a TKO at 3:00 of the seventh, upping the undefeated O’Rourke’s ledger to 10-0 with 3 KOs.  Johns dropped to 4-3 [3 KOs].

It was a thrilling affair from the first bell. O’Rourke, a southpaw, came out throwing accurate punches while the tough Johns held his own and forced his man in some exciting exchanges.

Johns, as a matter of fact, drew first blood. He bloodied O’Rourke’s nose in the fourth. Unfazed, the Dubliner continued to dictate the action.

O’Rourke kept his wits about him even when he suffered a cut over the left eye in the sixth round. His response was a perfectly placed shot that dropped Johns late in the seventh. That signaled the beginning of the end for Johns.

O’Rourke and Johns finally squared off three months after they were originally scheduled to clash in Jersey City, New Jersey. That fight was scuttled when the Dubliner fell sick.


Harley “Heavy Hands” Burke, Galway-born but raised in New York, kept his knockout streak going with an impressive fourth round TKO victory over Kam Humphrey in their scheduled six-rounder.

Humphrey started strong, but halfway through the second, Burke began to turn the tide, landing combinations and sitting on his punches. At the close of the third round, Burke tore into Humphrey trapping him in the corner and unleashing a barrage of punches.

Humphrey was able to finish the round on his feet. But at the start of the fourth round, he was checked by the doctor who advised the referee to stop the fight. Burke improved to 8-0 [7 KOs] while Humphrey’s record dropped to 3-2 [2 KOs].

Said Star Boxing CEO Joe DeGuardia: “The Ryan O’Rourke and Deshaun Johns fight lived up to the hype and Harley Burke took full advantage of his opportunity. We are proud to continue to produce high level boxing at a grass roots level. Thank you and congratulation to the fighters, my team and the Paramount for an epic night.”


IBF featherweight world champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez [27-2, 15 KOs] is predicting a knockout victory over Michael Conlan in the Belfastman’s hometown on May 27. Conlan [18-1, 9 KOs] will challenge for Lopez’ world title at The SSE Arena. The fight will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.

“This is going to be a great fight. He’s an Olympian,” said the Mexican. “He knows how to stick and move. It’s going to be a difficult fight. But my preparation has been excellent. This has been the best training camp of my entire career. And as soon as he starts planting his feet a bit, the fight will end very quickly.”

“It wouldn’t be smart for him to try to brawl with me. So, I expect him to come out and box. But I have the speed and strength to cut the ring and find him. I will knock Michael Conlan out!"