It’s been 20 years since anyone has made a defence of the Irish cruiserweight title.
The last man to do so was the big punching, big bellied, big character Darren Corbett when he knocked out Noel Magee in the Ulster Hall in April of 1997 in what his second defence.
However, having made history to become the first ever black Irish pro champion in what was only the island’s fifth ever cruiserweight domestic title fight, a “very proud” Luke Watkins is ready and willing to defend the strap if it makes sense.
The obvious challenger would be Big Tommy McCarthy, who watched the Wexford-Swindon fighter defeat veteran warrior Ian Tims from ringside on Saturday night.
A Watkins-McCarthy Irish title fight would seem to fit seamlessly into Matchroom’s planned Belfast return later in the year and the big punching Irish champion said, if it made sense, it would be a fight he would be happy to take.
“I would love to defend it, absolutely,” he told Irish-Boxing.com.
“The bottom line is it all comes down to what is right for me and my career, but if you’re a real champion, you defend belts and you put your title on the line against challengers. This is my first belt hopefully of many.”
“I would love to come back to Ireland and box and if it makes sense to defend the title that is what I will do. Tommy McCarthy is a fight I would be interested in, absolutely, again it’s about the right fight at the right time for me so we will see. That is a fight that makes sense so we will see,” he continued before basking in the achievement.
“And the New, that sounded amazing. I am very honoured to be called a champion of Ireland and I am very very proud. It’s a proud moment for me this.”
Watkins defeated only the second man ever to hold the belt for the title in Ian Tims. He buckled the title around his waist after a showreel knockout, but claims he was ready for 10 hard rounds against the Clondalkin hard man.
“All credit to Tims. I was hitting him with some clean shots and like the hard man he is he took them. It was one of the cleanest shots I have landed and he didn’t get it up. I knew what Tims would bring and I prepared for 10 rounds because he is tough, but I have power and if I land that can happen.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
LISTEN: Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill speak to Luke Keeler and Paddy Barnes on Episode 6 of The Irish Boxing Show: