New York-based Noel Murphy [12(2)-1(0)-1] returns home on Saturday July 20th to top a Martin Horgan run ‘Leeside Revolution’ card at the Neptune Stadium – and seems all parties involved want to come back with a bang.
There are said to be three opponent options on the table for the fighter who was last seen defeating John Joyce in Boston on St Patrick’s Weekend and Murphy’s manager, Kevin Crowley, confirmed they are hoping to secure an Irish title fight for the Macroom man and the top of the bill.
“We’re hoping for an Irish title, he’d like to win an Irish title. It will help us in the rankings and we might get a European [title shot] after that,” he told the Cork Echo.
Although it hosted one the biggest fight nights in Irish history when Steve Collins beat Chris Eubank at Millstreet and boasts two well known and successful fighters in Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan and Mike Perez, Cork has never been a fighting hot bed.
There was a period towards the end of the last decade where a number of shows were ran in quick succession but Leeside has been quiet for almost ten years now.
When pushed on the matter, promoters have suggested that while the ‘Rebel County’ seemed an ideal venue for shows that the following didn’t translate in ticket sales.
Anyone who witnessed Murphy’s two Dublin outings in 2017 wouldn’t be too worried about numbers turning up come July – and Crowley certainly isn’t either.
“He’ll bring a good crowd from Macroom as well as he did a few years ago at the Stadium. He got great support that night and hopefully, we can get that at the Neptune and get the ball rolling.”
Add to the likes of James Power, Vladimir Belujsky, Tommy McCarthy, Dean O’Connell and some other Munster talent – O’Sullivan and Perez have bigger things on the agenda – and you could push toward a sell out.
If that is the case Cork shows may become a more regular occurrence.
“It’s exciting as there hasn’t been professional boxing in Cork for years. Boxing is still very popular in Cork. People talk about it, watch it, follow it, and I think Noel will be a good start.”
“It might not be his last one there, all going well. It’s good to fight in his home city. He always wanted to fight in Cork in the main event. It’s great to get him back and now is a good time.”
Who Murphy may face for the Irish title is less clear.
The 24-year-old has operated at both light welter and welter and it is not clear which weight he will be targeting.
Jay Byrne has been vocal on wanting to fight for the Irish belt at welter, as has Keane McMahon – while Victor Rabei has the BUI Celtic title at 140lbs and is keen to go for the green belt here.
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography