He didn’t go quite as far as to call it his ‘World title’ ala Tyson Fury, but Stevie Collins isn’t one to overlook the value of an Irish title.
The green strap has been an underutilised weapon of progress over the years and Irish punchers seem to have failed to grasp it comes with a European ranking.
The fact the Celtic Warrior’s clash with former champion Paddy McDonagh in the National Stadium on June 24th is only the twelfth ever Irish title fight at the weight, one of the originals, suggests it’s an almost disregarded trinket.
However, for Collins it not only means a lot personally to be champion of his country, but he also sees the value of green strap and he is looking forward to achieving a serious career milestone by winning it next month.
“To me its a prestigious title and to be champion means a lot. I know we are only a small Ireland, but our standard of boxing is World class,” Collins told Irish-Boxing.com.
“Even though there are only a few million people here to win an Irish title is a serious milestone especially when you consider how this country ranks in terms of producing good fighters.To win this is a big deal for me.”
To be crowned light heavyweight champion of Ireland, Collins must defeat the man who last held the belt, Paddy McDonagh.
The 27 year old has been improving the level of opponent steadily and Pablo Sosa was a test he past with flying colours last time out.
The former rugby player claims he scrums down with a higher calibre of foe come June 24th and it’s just the challenge he wants.
“I said my last opponent was the best I had fought, but Paddy is 100 percent the best I have agreed to fight so far. That is the plan though, keep improving and keep getting better.”
“I wouldn’t have taken this fight at this stage in my career thinking I could possibly lose.”
A younger brother of JJ McDonagh, Paddy hasn’t been active of late. Indeed, he has been out of the ring for two years, but Collins doesn’t read into the sabbatical too much.
“His absence doesn’t make much of a difference to me. I set a pace and I try to maintain that pace over the entire fight. If he is there by the end of the fight and he can maintain that pace fair play to him. Paddy has done 10 rounds before, I haven’t. So I won’t take him lightly,” he continued.
“Paddy is a real come forward, tough boxer. He wants to mix it and he wants to exchange. It suits me down to the ground you know I don’t want to go looking for lads.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show: