Dublin boxer Luke Keeler fell short in his bid to become the WBO middleweight champion following a ninth-round stoppage defeat to Demetrius Andrade overnight in Miami.
‘Cool Hand’ Keeler was bidding to become the third Irish man to win the WBO middleweight gold after Steve Collins and Andy Lee, however, the Ballyfermot man was outclassed by the heavy favourite on the night.
The fight got off to the worst possible start for Keeler who was dropped to the canvas by the first punch the champion threw before being floored again in the second.
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) January 31, 2020
Keeler recovered though and fought gallantly from rounds three through to eight before the champion stepped it up a gear in the ninth round, eventually forcing the stoppage.
Following the fight, Andrade praised Keeler before claiming that popular English fighter Billy Joe Saunders was next on his list.
“Luke Keeler is a warrior and a future champion one day,” Andrade told DAZN in his post-match interview.
“I’m willing to go up to 168 to fight Billy Joe Saunders in my next fight.”
Keeler added that he vowed to learn from the experience after fighting on the world stage for the first time before admitting that the champion hit harder than he had anticipated.
“It was my first fight at true world level and I think I completed at stages. I’m still learning from Pete Taylor, I’ve been a full-time pro for two years and I’ll take it as a lesson.
“If I wasn’t improving I wouldn’t come back, I want to be world champion and I really feel I learned from the experience.
“He hit harder than I expected. He is a great champion, he deserves to be there at the top of the Middleweight division but I did compete at stages.
“I didn’t disgrace myself and I’m going home to Ireland with some pride.”
And that he does.