Alfredo Meli is immediately being tipped as one of the favourites for the ‘Ireland’s Last Man Standing’ tournament, and the Belfast middleweight believes he has something that the rest of the field does not.
Meli [14(3)-0-1] was yesterday confirmed as one of the eight participants in the inaugural tournament at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday March 3rd.
Barring Henry Coyle who is returning from four years out, the Immaculata man is the most experienced fighter in the field, holds the most notable win, and has fought at the highest level.
He also has experience of eight-man, single-elimination tournaments.
Not necessarily fighting in them, but Meli formerly trained with Eamonn O’Kane – who won the Sky Sports-broadcast Prizefighter All-Irish Middleweights back in 2012.
‘The Mac Man’ believes he can use his experience of these preparations to help him in his own foray into the format.
Meli described how “I’ve never really had the experience of fighting in this style of competition, but I helped Éamonn O’Kane when he went for Prizefighter, so I have the experience of sparring for it.”
“He won the Prizefighter in Belfast, so I have that experience behind me from when were sparring in the ‘Mac’. I’ll be able to talk to Éamonn and get his advice.”
“We were doing three threes, then taking a break and you’d go back in. I know what to expect and it’s all about pacing yourself and having the fitness for it. I just have to fight the way I fight, work hard and keep going.
Always eager for big fights and to progress, Meli was one of the first fighters to publically state their desire to enter ‘Ireland’s Last Man Standing’ and he added that “I’m delighted to be in the tournament.”
“It’s a good, strong competition and I expect there to be a few great fights,”
“I think the format will suit me – three fights in one night to win it. I just have to put in the hard work in the gym.
“A win would tee up big fights after this. It’s all about putting my face out there and putting the hard work too. It’s been hard when I’ve been working away [as a mechanic] too, so a win would really help me.”
Dubliner Bernard Roe is also in the tournament and holds an amateur win over Meli from the 2011 Intermediates, however the Lower Falls fighter is not interested in settling scores or singling out opponents
“I get on well with everyone,” he said. “I don’t think there’s really any bad blood in boxing – it’s a gentleman’s sport and I don’t have any grudges. Some people might look at it differently, but I just consider everyone a friend and get on with it.”