21 March 2010 – By Steve Wellings
Irish welterweight champion Stephen Haughian is looking to put a bout of inactivity behind him and reignite a career that has threatened to hit the rocks. An impressive win in New York could be just the tonic for the Lurgan man as he hunts down British or Commonwealth honours.
Theres been about five different names mentioned as my next opponent but the one I think were settled on is Jesse Davis who has a journeymans record but eight of his eleven wins have come by knockout, the 25-year-old told irish-boxing.com.
Ive seen a few of his fights on YouTube and he comes out swinging so it should make for an exciting bout and will hopefully get the ball rolling for me again.
I wasnt inactive through my own choice, added Stephen, but it was just the way things worked out because originally the talk was of a Commonwealth title fight with John ODonnell and after I won the Irish title that was supposed to be my next fight. It fell through though and I heard nothing more about it.
This will hopefully be the year that I push on to bigger things.
Headlining in his native Craigavon last February, a dominating three round blitz of Cork battler Billy Walsh brought home the Irish crown and promised to push Haughian on to a higher stage. A marking-time win in London was followed by a sketchy showing on Bernard Dunnes WBA title defence against Poonsawat in Dublin. Surprisingly floored and generally off the pace, Stephen struggled to a draw on the referees scorecard.
That performance was down to a lack of motivation as I was planning for a title fight and suddenly I was in for a six-rounder which was a bit of a comedown, explained Haughian.
I still thought that Id done enough to win that fight even though I got caught with a stupid shot and was dropped.
Rumours-abound of Haughian defending his coveted domestic strap against gym partner and friend Willie Thompson but the Lurgan man admits talk is premature and sees unbeaten Burnley prospect Chris OBrien as a more viable option.
To be honest theres been no real word in the gym about the Thompson fight, he admitted. The two of us are training together so its not very professional and anything can happen in this game so I put it down to just talk at the moment.
I hear that Chris OBrien is looking to fight for the Irish title as well and even though Id definitely defend my title against him I really want to be pushing for bigger fights after a win in America.
My trainer John Breen is nominating me for the British or Commonwealth title and if we can put some pressure on the board then they might give us an opportunity. If that doesnt come forward and an Irish title defence is on the agenda then Id take it.
For the time being Haughians American adventure, and a chance to improve on his 18-1-1 (8 KOs) record, is all that matters.
Im definitely looking forward to showing the Americans what I have to offer. Theres a big market out there for an Irish boxer so if I can get a good win they will get to know my name. Well take it one fight at a time but if theres a chance of getting more work out there then I will certainly consider it as an option.
My aim is to stay busy, keep motivated and Im convinced the opportunities will come along.