Darren Cruise [7(1)-5(0)] has mixed it with top domestic opposition at super middleweight and light heavyweight, and therefore feels he has nothing to fear from Luke Keeler.
The Roscommon boxer takes on Keeler [12(5)-2(1)] for the Irish middleweight title on Saturday June 24th in Dublin, and is looking forward to a classic.
It’s a second Irish title fight for Cruise who narrowly (95:96) lost to JJ McDonagh for the super middleweight belt last year. That fight also came off the back of a points loss to Tom Baker, who would subsequently win the English light heavyweight title.
With this experience in the bank, the Castlerea fighter comes into the bout on the Red Corner ‘For Honour & Pride’ card at the National Stadium with more confidence than ever before.
Cruise explained to Irish-Boxing.com that “I learned so much against Tom Baker, the English light heavyweight champion, and JJ McDonagh. They are two top fighters.”
“The JJ fight could have gone either way and we all saw what JJ did to Jake Ball after that, so there’s no arguing that I can mix it at a top level.”
“Since the McDonagh fight I think I showed huge improvements in my next fight in the Stadium [a knockout win against Ferenc Katona in June 2016].”
Cruise is anticipating a special fight this Summer, and predicted that the title clash, the first since Eamonn O’Kane defeated Anto Fitzgerald in 2013, will be “an all-out war, no two ways about it, I will not be running.”
“I will hold the middle of the ring and I will go to war with him. This fight will not go 10 rounds. Luke is an aggressive fighter so I know he won’t run either.”
“I have no doubt that this will be one of the best fights ever to be seen in Dublin.”
The soldier will be going into enemy territory for the fight, with Ballyfermot’s Keeler living just a few miles down the road from the National Stadium. This isn’t an issue for Cruise, an accomplished amateur, who stated that “I have no problem in fighting Luke in Dublin in the Stadium, it’s the home of Irish boxing and somewhere I have boxed since I was a kid so it’s not unfamiliar to me.”
This could be viewed as a sign of confidence from Cruise, but it’s nothing compared to his willingness to stake his entire purse on the outcome of the fight. While he, and Keeler, have been persuaded against an all-or-nothing bout, there will still be a substantial side bet placed on the fight.
Cruise outlined how “I was more than happy to put my purse on the line, it gives me a bigger payday, but we’ve agreed to have a little wager on it between ourselves just to make it interesting.”
“I am extremely confident in this fight because I know the pedigree I’ve mixed at in the higher weights so I really don’t think Luke has the power to hurt me.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)