Tyson Fury recovered from his usual slow start to stop Martin Rogan in five rounds at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast to become the Irish heavyweight champion and fulfil a lifelong ambition.
The 23 year-old initially surprised all by opening the fight in the southpaw stance and seemed to struggle to adjust in the first round as Rogan piled in with some wild punches to take the opening round.
Rogan, 40, then continued his good work into the second round as Fury chatted in his ear for most of the session until a left hand got through from the home fighter and Fury was caught clean for the first time in the fight.
The third round represented a shift in the contest as Fury seemed to get to grips with his switch and began pound his right hand jab into Rogan’s face with more damaging effect. A swinging left at the end of the round then put Rogan down, although the former Prizefighter champion seemed unhurt as he went back to his corner.
Former British and Commonwealth champion Fury then took total control of the fight and used some good body work to take the fourth round as the aging Rogan began to tire from his fierce start to the fight.
The fifth saw more of the same from Fury and a crunching left to the body on the back of a head combination put a wincing Rogan down and at that point he looked like he’d had enough of what were some sickening blows.
The Irishman did make it to his feet and looked willing to continue, but by that time his trainer Bernardo Checa had already asked the referee to stop the contest and Fury was crowned the new Irish belt holder.
Fury now moves a step closer to a world title fight with his 18th professional victory and his 13th knockout.
On his new southpaw stance, Fury stated after the fight: “I am just practicing a few things there you know. I found it a bit comfortable to go left handed. I am a world-class heavyweight and I am going to try different things.”