JOEL McINTYRE kept his promise to make a statement with a stoppage victory as professional boxing returned to Portsmouth.
And Lucas Ballingall followed suit as he showcased the potential which has him earmarked for big things.
Light-heavyweight McIntyre took out game Slovakian Vladimir Idranyi in seven rounds at Liquid & Envy nightclub on Saturday.
The heavy-handed Leigh Park man had the edge in every department over Idranyi but was given plenty to handle.
Idranyi raised a swelling over McIntyre’s right eye and repeatedly took advantage of his opponent’s leaky defence to land punches and keep the contest from being one-sided.
McIntyre started slowly before upping the pace and imposing himself on his challenger from the third round.
Some big shots had Idranyi out on his feet before he was rescued by the referee in the penultimate round.
McIntyre recognised his faults but felt his belief has been given a boost by the display.
He said: ‘It was a good stoppage and it’s given me confidence.
‘He was overlooking me and he fought with ambition but I soon knocked that out of him.
‘I could have made it easier for myself and I give myself five out of ten, but it was entertaining for the fans. I thank them for their support and I promise things are about to get interesting!’
Featherweight Ballingall convinced with a TKO in four rounds over durable Georgian Mikheil Soloninkini.
The Portsmouth prospect showed terrific hand speed and worked well behind the jab to dominate.
There are hopes for what Ballingall can achieve, but father and trainer, Michael, knows there’s plenty to work on.
He said: ‘The plan was to look professional and apply educated pressure.
‘As the rounds went on he broke him down, started straightening his shots up and showed more skill. We both felt he could box a lot better because we know how much he has to give.’
Dave Birmingham gave a disciplined performance at lightweight against rugged Qasim Hussain to take a wide decision over four rounds.
Boxing with maturity, Birmingham refused to be drawn into a brawl, repeatedly landing his jab and pivoting off before Hussain could reset.
He said: ‘It was tempting to have a war but I stuck to the game plan.
‘My trainers, Mike Ballingall and James Lee, wanted me to box, and I did.
‘We’d trained to make him work to find me, and I knew he was getting frustrated by the fourth when he did the Ali shuffle! It’s a good result.’
Leigh Park cruiserweight Biola Kudus eased back from a KO loss to Karl Wheeler in his last fight to take all four rounds against Croatian Tomislav Rudan, who simply couldn’t get past the long jabs coming his way.
It was an over-cautious but competent display from Kudus as he got the win.
In other contests, Ricky Little scored an emphatic KO of Bulgaria’s Stefan Sashov on his debut and Southampton light-heavyweight Charlie Quinn made his professional bow with a four rounds points win over Bulgarian Merdjidin Yuseinov.