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Afraid of the Dragon? Boxing Ireland claim offers to fight Joe Fitzpatrick have been made to domestic rivals

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Boxing Ireland Promotions boss Leonard Gunning revealed some of the four names dropped by Irish title keen Joe Fitzpatrick have already turned offers to face the now BUI Celtic champion.

Post collecting the prettiest of the domestic Irish straps thanks to victory over Iago Baros in the Devenish the weekend before last, ‘The Dragon, was clear about his Irish title desire.

The talented southpaw wants the green strap next and amidst claiming best lightweight in Ireland status dropped the names of four fighters he would be more than willing to face – Ray Moylette, Gary Cully, Niall O’Conor, and Stephen McAfee.

Gunning, who promotes the Belfast fighter alongside Dennis Morrison and Stephen Sharpe, has the same Irish title next ambition for the Commonwealth Games silver medalist.

Boxing Ireland would love for their leading Belfast light to challenge for the title in February [the rumoured date for Celtic Clash 10] – and have no problem with any of the names the Mac Man put forward as possible green strap opponents.

Indeed, according to Gunning some where already offered the fight.

“It’s got to be an Irish title, straight away. We are not here to mess around with him,” Gunning said after Celtic Clash 9.

“He is in the groove now. We’ve had two fights to get his momentum back because he was out of the ring for over a year. Now we have had two fights, top of the bill and he is making the Devenish a home. The Devenish is a bit of a fortress for him now. The place was hopping and was full at 6:30 for this show. Now let’s build on that momentum and try get him and Irish title fight. We might have to go down south for that.”

“There are plenty of lads there to fight him. He could even make super featherweight, so any super featherweight or lightweight in Ireland,” he adds before addressing the call out list.

“He called out a few names there. He is ready for any of them and would take them in a heartbeat. We have made some offers to Irish fighters, I won’t be disrespectful and name names, but offers have gone out to some of the names he has mentioned. There are four guys there he has mentioned at lightweight or super featherweight and we’d fight any of them in February.”

Fitzpatrick’s talent has never been questioned, but at times his commitment has. He admits he was close to calling it a day before Boxing Ireland sold him a new dream and now stresses boxing is now the one thing that keeps him stable. Constant training and having fights to focus on have helped him through a tough six months.

Gunning claims the difference is there for all to see and notes Boxing Ireland have a better fighter on their hands.

“He just needed the focus and activity. He has been inactive and he goes off into his own world then. He has had a couple of tragedies and that has focused his mind too. So those tragedies, the activity and being top of the bill, which plays into the ego, have made him a better more focused fighter,” he added.

“He has great support too and good guys behind him. His team and myself Dennis and Stephen grafting putting on shows that are doing well it means the sky is the limit.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish).


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com