‘Cool Hand’ takes on the American on the Féile an Phobail card on August 3rd and believes the clash is his chance to cement his status as a bonafide world level operator.
The World ranked WBO 160lbs fighter claims victory over 29-year-old Arias [18(9)-1(0)-1] will place him right in the mix and put him in world title shot pole.
“I’m within touching distance of that world title dream. I’ll be at world level after this fight. My name can be mentioned in the mix straight away,” Keeler said after the fight was officially announced yesterday.
The American comes to Belfast with a solid CV. His sole defeat as a pro came against noted middleweight name Danny Jacobs and is his last outing he drew with Gabe Rosado, who Keeler initially hoped to fight on the bill.
The Ballyfermot middleweight admits it’s a step up to world level for him, but delights in the chance to prove he too is a contender.
He also points out that a clash with a former USBA title winner will serve him well if he does secure a shot at one of the middleweight straps – which are currently held by Canelo Alvarez [IBF, WBC, WBA] and Demetrius Andrade [WBO].
“I know Luis Arias is a world-level fighter and will be best I’ve been in with. Technically, he’s good but he’s the perfect step I need to beat before fighting for a world title,” he adds before revealing he is confident he can go one better than Rosado by defeating Arias.
“Arias has already proven he is on the same level as the likes of Gabriel Rosado, who we tried make the fight against – but I feel style-wise Arias will suit me better than he suited Rosado.
“I know this is a huge event and that tickets have flown out quickly. I’m expecting a great atmosphere and real support from the people of Belfast again.”