Darren Cruise aiming to prove he is Ireland’s best domestic middleweight in 2018

It was a case of job done and, hopefully, on to the big one for Darren Cruise [8(2)-6(0)] on Saturday night.

The Roscommon middleweight inauspiciously opened the ‘Celtic Clash 4’ bill at the National Stadium in Dublin.

Facing Janos Varga, Cruise brought an end to the contest in the second round, with the Hungarian stopped in the corner following a body assault from the home fighter.

In reality, Cruise had barely entered second gear in the early-evening clash.

The fight served a purpose for the Connacht fighter – who was making his return, under new management and coaching, following his narrow Irish title loss to Luke Keeler during the Summer.

Following the clinical victory, Cruise explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “I wanted to shake off a bit of cobwebs. I think that did just that.”

“I wanted to get a fight out of the way after the Keeler loss, just to build into 2018.”

“A lot of people won’t know, but that guy came in a stone heavier, a full stone.”

“I took him out of there pretty easily. It was a good performance, I know he wasn’t the best fighter in the world but I still took him out of there.”

It was Cruise’s first fight since relocating to Kildare for work and linking up with Eddie Hyland at the N7 Boxing Academy.

The 27 year old can see the difference already and described how “I felt like I was putting shots together a bit more, Eddie has taught me a bit more, to sit on my punches a bit more, to take my time.”

“He knows, he was a good fighter himself. He’s not trying to change anything I do, just critiquing it a bit.”

A fight-anyone sort of guy, Cruise is not content fighting journeymen and is targeting a big 2018 – with the potentially groundbreaking Ireland’s Last Man Standing tournament in March being his primary goal.

A win here, alongside the €25,000 top prize, would also secure him a rematch with keeler for the Irish title he so desperately craves.

Cruise outlined that “I’m looking for big fights in 2018, I don’t want any more of them fights, them fights are irrelevant to me, I don’t want them.”

“I want to get into Ireland’s Last Man Standing, I don’t see why I wouldn’t. I’m one of the best middleweights in the country – I think I am excluding Andy Lee, Jason Quigley, and Spike.”

“I think I’m up there, I’m better than Keeler, without a shadow of a doubt I’m better than Keeler. I think I deserve to be in it.”

“If they’re looking to bring lads up from the West of Ireland and spread it about the country, I don’t see why not, I’m a big enough name.”

“I’ll enjoy the Christmas and we’ll see what happens in 2018.”

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


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie