CONOR Quinn enjoyed an excellent start to the new year as he improved to 5-0-1 with a second-round stoppage of Stevie Maguire at The Europa Hotel last night.

'The Magnificent' lived up to his ring moniker and again exhibit the attributes that have him marked as an exciting prospect as his fast hands, skill and accuracy had the job done after 2.04 of the second round.

Having spent 32 months out of the ring, Quinn improved with each of his three performances to end 2022 and looks firmly into a flow with the ambition of pushing onto title opportunities before the close of the year.

Last night, he was close to a first-round stoppage as he punished the visitor with a right hand that was the prelude to a rapid flurry that had Maguire on the verge, but he just about survived.

Quinn again punished his opponent in the second with Maguire just about staying up, but this time the follow-up assault spelt the end as he marched on in fine style.

"This is the most excited I've been for a fight in years," he said afterwards.

"Everyone mentioned it to be and I don't know if that was because I was heading a show or what, but I feel ready to take off now.

"I would say I'm 90 per cent (back on track), not quite 100 where I want to be. I'm on the way and putting in good performances and am capable of getting in with good lads.

"I've hurt my hand a bit and wasn't able to push hard in the lead-up, so I was in the predicament of 'should I try to take this guy out?' or ease off on the hand, but the fighter in me is always going to go for the option of throwing more punches. I'm glad I got him out of there and glad I got this out of the way so I can let the hand heal up."

As a flyweight, there is the opportunity to fast-track towards a British or Commonwealth title tilt with a smaller pool of fighters than in higher divisions.

However, the flip side is that many in the prospect stage where Quinn resides at present have the same idea and getting willing domestic opposition can be an issue, but the West Belfast man is confident his time will come sooner rather than later.

"The lighter guys, there aren't many around and if you're seen as a puncher, like I know I am and the results say I am, they don't want to risk it against you," he accepts.

"But Mark (Dunlop, manager) is the man to get matches and the chances for belts - I'll be the one standing with them all around me."

The co-feature on Saturday produced an early candidate for Irish fight of the year as Jamie Morrissey edged out Kevin Cronin on a 77-76 decision for the BUI Celtic light-heavyweight title.

Kerry's Cronin opened brightly and appeared to have the upper hand in this all-out war between the Munster rivals, with the Limerick man seeming to enjoy the better of the middle rounds as he tagged Cronin with hooks and uppercuts, bloodying his rival and sending his gum shield flying at one stage.

Yet Cronin rallied magnificently, seeming to tip the balance back in his favour in the final two rounds as he drove Morrissey back, teeing off with his own power shots with the final round seeing both men utterly exhausted as they swung wildly.

A draw seemed on the cards, but referee Pádraig Ó Reachtagáin had the Limerick man ahead by the narrowest of margins (four rounds to three with one even).