Darren Cruise calls for Luke Keeler Irish title rematch on next Burnett Belfast undercard


Roscommon middleweight Darren Cruise [7(1)-6(0)] is still flabbergasted as to how he was adjudged to have lost to Luke Keeler for the Irish title last month.

The Irish Army soldier is desperate for a rematch with Keeler [13(5)-2(1) and believes that a fight on the next Matchroom undercard in Belfast would make a lot of sense.

Ryan Burnett is set for a return to the city to defend his IBF bantamweight title in the Autumn, and Cruise feels a rematch would provide an exciting addition to the October 21st card which was informally announced by Eddie Hearn earlier this week.

When Burnett won the belt against Lee Haskins last month the card featured an Irish cruiserweight title fight between Dubliner Ian Tims and Swindon-Wexford fighter Luke Watkins.

Cruise argues that a rematch with Keeler would similarly fit the bill.

Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com, the 27 year old outlined how “I think Eddie will look for a high quality all-Irish fight and I think a rematch between myself and Luke is an obvious choice.”

“People want to see it again there is a divide in people’s opinions when it comes to the result and that’s what makes it interesting.”

“The loss affected me,” Cruise admits, “I felt I won easy.”

“But now the dust has settled I feel more motivated than ever to beat him even more convincingly this time.”

Cruise and Keeler met last month in Dublin’s National Stadium, with Keeler taking the fight on a 96-95 scoreline after ten close rounds.

Referee David Irvine’s verdict split opinion, with a vocal minority quibbling the card.

Cruise is adamant that he got the better of Cool Hand and described how “the fight with Luke keeler was a very entertaining fight but, looking back on it and having watched it a couple of times, I can’t get my head around the result.”

“I felt I won seven rounds quite easily.”

“From what I heard we were level going into the last round and a blind person could see I won that last round.”

The fact their first fight took place in Dublin, just a stone’s throw from Keeler’s home in Ballyfermot, leads Cruise to claim that this influenced the judges in favour Celtic Warriors man.

While Cruise is managed by Belfast’s Mark Dunlop, the Titanic City could be argued to be a more neutral venue, and the Castlerea fighter reasoned that “I think having this fight on neutral ground is very important because Luke was the local dublin lad and they are trying to build him into something that, in my opinion, he isn’t.”

“If he is a man of his word, Luke will give me the rematch and the Burnett undercard is the obvious choice of venue.”

Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography

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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