Monthly Archives: August 2011
By Jonny Stapleton
Frank Warren’s Irish starlets Spike O’Sullivan and Stephen Ormond have been added to the ‘Homecoming’ October 22 show in Dundalk.
Opponents have yet to be confirmed, but the undefeated duo will join Paulie Hyland, Allan Donnelan and local lad Michael Kelly on a card that boasts the first ever Female Irish title fight between Christina McMahon and Maxine ’Mad Max’ McCarthy.
Maira Ni Shiuilleabhain, who makes her promotional debut on the night expressed her delight at confirming the duo on the card.
“I am thrilled to have boxers of their calibre on the show. They have just confirmed what a superb line up we will have on the night and what great Irish talent we have. You will be even more excited when you hear the full line up! Michael Kelly has done a great job matchmaking as well as Ken Moore who matched Michaels bout. A big thank you to everyone who has worked on the show so far. Both sports people and artists. It’s going to be a fun night I’m sure of it.”
By Jonny Stapleton
He may be able to boast one of the highest world rankings in Irish boxing, but EBA middleweight champion Anthony Fitzgerald is suffering a career low at present.
The Pride burst in the WBU top 15 yesterday and is rated number 10 in the WBA. However, the Irish super middleweight champion is anything but on top of the world.
Ironically despite enjoying such a high status with two world governing bodies Fitzgerald is struggling to get fights.
The Inner City Dub is singing from the anywhere, anyone, anytime hymn sheet, but can’t secure a bout at a very crucial time of his career.
“It is very frustrating looking at people pulling out of fights and turning down fights. I will take a fight any time it’s very hard to keep up the hard training wit no fights. I am ready to step to the next level but I need fights to be able to do that,” Fitzgerald told www.irish-boxing.com.The fall of Dolphil Promotions hasn’t helped the Irish Champion of the Years cause, but coach Phil Sutcliffe and Bra Brady have now looking to promote under a new banner.
KO Entertainment looks set to be launched over the coming weeks and hopes to secure fights for Fitzgerald, Christina McMahon, Noel O’Brien, Gavin Prunty and Paddy Ward.
Willie Thompson (6-4-1) is delighted to be back fighting in Northern Ireland. The Ballyclare welterweight is looking forward to a good old fashioned domestic tear-up over eight-threes with Lurgan’s unbeaten puncher Ryan Greene (4-0) on September 17 at the Kings Hall, Belfast.
The Northern Ireland Area title – last seen in 2007 when James Gorman defeated Gary Hamilton for the light-welterweight version – will also be making a welcome re-appearance.
“It’s a great honour to be fighting for the Northern Ireland Area title and it’s definitely coming home with me,” buzzed Willie. “I’m still up in Breen’s gym, training away and getting great sparring with Joe Rea, Stephen Haughian and a younger boxer who’s on his way up.”
“I don’t know much about my opponent Ryan Greene and they say he’s a puncher. Stephen Haughian’s sparred with him and he said he comes forward a lot so we’ll see what happens. Ryan is a southpaw so maybe I’ll get sparring with Paul McCloskey or another southpaw because they can be difficult to fight.”
Willie reeled off an impressive run of wins after turning professional but his career has been relatively stop/start since the unbeaten record was popped by former British welterweight champ Michael Jennings. Thompson even linked up with ex-referee Paul Graham, who has turned his hand to promoting over in Scotland. Taking short notice scraps, all away from home, made Willie think twice and return home to continue his career.
“I’m finished with Paul Graham now,” he confirmed. “Boxing away from home was tough and I thought I won three of the four fights that I lost. When you’re the away fighter you nearly have to take the opponent’s head off with a sword to win.”
“I dried out for 36 hours before one fight and it was heavy going. I’m a natural welterweight and I wanted Greene to budge down in weight for this fight, but he couldn’t so I’ll move up [to light-middleweight] to meet him.”
In October last year, Thompson held no reservations about stepping in with reigning British light-welterweight champion Ashley Theophane, a man who has carved out a reputation as a quality sparring hand in American gyms.
“Theophane wasn’t that great and I did six rounds with him no problem,” said Willie. “I was suffering with the weight loss issues in that fight but I put my hands up, I lost the fight but I was genuinely weight drained. Putting all that aside I’m really glad to be back home and fighting in Northern Ireland again.”
The Hennessy promoted bill at the Kings Hall Belfast is topped by appearances from newly crowned British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, and Sheffield’s former WBC light welterweight champion and Prizefighter finalist Junior Witter (39-5-2) against Lurgan’s Stephen Haughian (21-2-1).
By Jonny Stapleton
Paul McCloskey claims Amir Khan’s one sided demolition of Zab Judah further confirms ‘Dudey’ is a world level fighter.
The sight of Khan parading the WBA and IBF light welterweight titles around the ring after he stopped the American last month might not have been appealing to the Derry fighter, but the manner in which McCloskey’s former foe won the fight proved some sort of solace for the former European champion.
McCloskey, who fights Breidis Prescott in the Odyssey Arena in just over a weeks time, also lost to the Golden Boy promoted star. However , he did so via a very controversial stoppage and despite loosing all of the opening six rounds looked a lot more comfortable against the Freddie Roach trained fighter than the five time world champion did .
Indeed despite admittedly being very reserved in the opening stanza’s the Dungiven stylist managed to make a fighter, who is now on the pound for pound title trail, look amateurish on occasion.
The fact ‘King Khan’ reigned supreme in Mandalay Bay Resort against a world champion that was meant to give him trouble, but struggled for form against Derry’s awkward south paw has given McCloskey a confidence boost as he plans to trade leather the only fighter to beat Khan.
“A few people got onto me saying ‘Khan destroyed a world champion in five rounds but couldn’t lay a glove on you’. Obviously I lost the fight but it was under controversial circumstances after a clash of heads. His display gives you a bit of a confident boost and proves I am at world level. But you don’t just wake up in the morning and get that type of confidence. You have to work hard and train hard. I have ability but you have work hard too,” McCloskey told www.irish-boxing.com.
McCloskey is aware it will take more than a confidence boost to defeat the heavy handed Columbian in the WBA world title eliminator. He knows whatever the out come, the Prescott fight will draw Khan comparisons.
However, McCloskey is adamant his fight with the ‘Khan-queerer’ is about securing a world title shot not a rematch with the Golden Boy star.
“I lost a lot of respect for Khan after the way he conducted himself in the press conference after the fight, but I’ve put all of that behind me. I want to fight for a world title and to be honest I don’t care who it is against. I have the hurdle of Prescott to overcome first so you can understand why I don’t want to get ahead of myself.”
By Jonny Stapleton
Willie Casey will not do battle with Carl Frampton for the European title on September 10.
Big Bang was muted as possible replacement for Spaniard Kiko Martinez, who pulled out of the mouth watering continental clash with less than two weeks to go, but claims contact came to late and the offer was to little to agree to what would have proved only the second ever all Irish European title fight.
The Limerick fighter will now focus on his comeback fight with Daniel Kodjo which takes place on the undercard of Tyson Fury’s Belfast bow in the King’s Hall on September 17.
“It is too late now, there was no good offer made so I have decided to focus on September 17 and Daniel Kodjo. I told my manager to see if he could arrange Frampton and I for the EBU title fight, but the offer wasn’t good enough,” Casey told www.irish-boxing.com.
“Considering I only had a week to get ready you would assume they would have factored that into the offer. I presume they are not too upset with not having to fight me. Now they can get a few more fights under their belt before fighting me or fighting for the EBU title.”
Frampton’s options seem to be dwindling by the day as Casey joins mandatory European challenger, Rendell Munroe, number 2 contender Arsen Martirosyan as well as Martinez on the list of fighters unwilling or unable to fight him on the under card of Paul McCloskey’s homecoming.
Matchroom press release
Matchroom Sport can confirm that European Super Bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez has withdrawn from his fight with Carl Frampton on September 10 at the Odyssey Arena through personal reasons.
Martinez’s father was taken ill during the young Spaniard’s training camp and has since had his leg amputated. The 25 year-old left his base to spend time with his father, and as a result has pulled out of the fight on the undercard of Paul McCloskey vs. Breidis Prescott, live on Sky Sports.
Frampton’s appearance on the bill will be his 11th pro outing and the man named as one of Sky Sports 11 to watch in 2011, with promoters Matchroom Sport working hard to secure a test for Barry McGuigan’s hot prospect.
“Irish fight fans can be assured that Carl will remain on the bill,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “He has trained for a big fight and that’s exactly what we are going to deliver for him, and we hope to name his opponent within 48 hours.
“Our thoughts are with Kiko and his family at this time and we wish them well.”
Tickets for Paul McCloskey vs. Breidis Prescott plus a full championship undercard led by Carl Frampton vs. Kiko Martinez are on sale now priced at £30-£150 (tickets may be subject to service charge) and available from the Odyssey Arena Box Office on 02890 73 9074, Ticketmaster 0844 277 4455 (24 hour). Tickets are also available in person from the Odyssey Arena Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, and online fromwww.ticketmaster.ie.
By Jonny Stapleton
Joe Hillerby is looking to wrap up his first year as a pro with victory over the tough and durable Tommy Tolan.
The 23 year old was initially meant to trade leather with Irish boxing’s renaissance man Ciaran Healy, but is now scheduled to fight former sparring partner Tolan, who was pencilled in to face Phil Townley, as Belfast boxing’s September boxing merry go round continues.
However, unlike most boxing fans ‘The Faith’ isn’t confused and is just focused on attaining win number five on the under card of Tyson Fury’s King Hall hosted bout.
The Belfast man is predicting a points win and is confident he can show his wide array of skills against a fighter who has shared the ring with Eammon O’Kane, Michael Sweeney and Tony Jefferies.
“My opponent has change now to Tommy Tolan. Ciaran and myself would have been a good fight but that’s boxing. I am taking this fight at a heavier weight just to get on the show. I think this is a great chance to show my skills,” Hillerby told www.irish-boxing.com.
“Tommy Tolan is a tough fight he knows the game well and has good punch power. I think out fight will be a cracking bout. I have sparred him and respect him as a fighter. I think ill win on points and I feel my career is moving well. Another win hear will be great for my first year as a pro then we will hope to push for a title shot in the new year.”
European number two contender Arsen Martirosyan wants to challenge Carl Frampton for the EBU title, but won’t be ready to fight on September 10.
The French based puncher, who challenged Kiko Martinez for the EBU strap in the National Stadium in 2010, contacted www.irish-boxing.com to stress his desire to fight for the title once again.
However, it seems the Armenian, who was touted as a possible replacement for Kiko Martinez wouldn’t be available to do battle on September 10.
With Willie Casey not likely to accept an offer to fight, Martiosyan not available on Saturday week Frampton’s options are dwindling.
Former world title challenger and Kiko Martinez defeater is now being muted as the next in line if Casey declines.
“I encourage Matchroom to contact us. We are willing and qualified to challenge for the European title. We would fight Carl Frampton with pleasure, but 10 days notice is very short,“ Martirosyan’s manager Saadi Mechiche said.
“We would prefer if Team Frampton would postpone the fight for a few weeks so that our champion can prepare. Arsen has just returned from holiday. We would be happy to come to the beautiful city of Belfast, a city that has a rich pugilistic culture, but we would like to put back the date.”
Posted August 29th, 2011 in News
By Declan Hughes
UNION CITY, NJ- When arriving to Union City’s boxing gym, I felt like I was transported back in time. The city has distinct noir feel. The gym itself looks like it’s been there since the 1930’s. I was meeting my friend and one of my favorite fighters to watch, Danny “Little Mac” McDermott, as he prepares for his October 22nd match up against hardened veteran Mauricio Pastrana. The two fighters will be contesting for the WBU Lightweight Championship of the World.
This will be McDermott’s first time on the world championship stage, while Pastrana is a former two time world champion himself, with key wins over fighters like the legendary Micheal Carabajal. Pastrana, at one time was a 22-0 WBA World Champion before his career started on a roller coaster. His most recent notable win to date was in 2007 when he defeated upcoming prospect Antonio Escalante with a devastating 8th round knockout. Pastrana last fought June 4th of this year when he lost a close decision against another ring legend, Johnny Tapia. With this kind of experience McDermott will have his work cut out for him fight night.
This doesn’t faze McDermott, as he talks with me while jumping rope. “I was born for this” he says emphatically. “Since my dream started as a kid, I wanted this. I trained with the best. I’ve been in the ring with great fighters.” He is speaking of his 100 or so rounds with ring legend and McDermott’s mentor, Arturo Gatti and his sparring sessions with great fighters like Bones Adams, Junior Jones, Paulie Malignaggi, Sharmbe Mitchell just to name a few.
McDermott started boxing in his home town of North Bergen NJ at 12 years old, the same hometown of the famed “Cinderella Man” James J.Braddock. In fact, winning this world title would make McDermott the first native born North Bergen fighter to win the world title since Braddock. McDermott has had his ups and downs in his boxing career and now has a new team surrounding him. He is now managed by prominent New York business men Jackie Coonan and Sean Cummiskey and is trained by former IBF Middleweight Champ, Mark Medal. He is looking to capitalize on what he calls his “Cinderella Shot”.
“History repeats itself, ya know. I look at Braddock’s life and I see a very similar life-we both come from Irish roots (McDermott’s family hails from Foxford, Mayo and Donegal), we both didn’t have a silver spoon in our mouth at birth. We weren’t born rich, we were at one time top prospects in our division. We are workin men, family men who fell on hard times. That’s were I’m at now to be honest with you. I have this opportunity to win a top world title. Im thankful for my friends and sponsors who have helped me get ready for this fight. My sponsors Enda Keenan, Liam McGreevy and Richie Browne, they helped me through my hard times and kept me a float. North Bergen’s about to have another Cinderella Man!”
The fight will be at the 69th Armory in New York City on Oct.22. The event will be sponsored by Jack Demsey’s Restaurant and Pub as well as Legends NYC and The Quays in Hoboken NJ.