The Dubal-based Waterford native jets in for the inaugural ‘Ring Kings’ show and will trade leather in his home City on February 17th at the WIT Arena.
The undefeated 24-year-old made his Irish debut last May, but admits there is something special about going to war in your home county and the light middleweight is keen to impress when he takes on Cork-based South African Jade Karam.
The distance emigration puts between emigrants and the people from their hometown means Date feels he might have to more than fellow Deise men Craig McCarthy and Barry Barnes to make an impression.
Having dropped all three of his opponents to date – stopping two along the way – Date certainly has the potential to entertain, but the prospect is keen to show improvements come the Neil Power Promotions show.
There is a slight date with destiny feel for Date, he feels he has found the perfect platform to announce himself as a genuine prospect and one to look out for, and has upped his levels of fight learning and brought in a coach to ensure he takes full advantage.
“I don’t really think I have been in boring fights that often in amateur or pro. I took a few little adjustments in my first two fights as a pro just to get used to the changes,” Date explained to Irish-Boxing.com.
“I have definitely matured as a fighter, I have some guidance here really sitting me down picking my shots.”
“I didn’t have anyone really training me full time for my first two fights which is kind of mad if you think about it.”
“I have started to study the sport a lot more, press my conditioning and just feel I needed a platform to showcase it which I believe Neil Power has given myself and the lads with Ring Kings,” added the UAE-based puncher before hinting that fighting in Waterford may that little more important for him in terms of winning fans and selling tickets than it is for his fellow countymen on the card.
Date described how “people don’t really see myself or the efforts that I am putting in when I am abroad. I have only been back once or twice before my last fight in Ireland and I don’t get the chance to meet with everyone I wish I could have.”
“This has made it harder to push tickets out and get behind promoting myself in Ireland. I think people don’t understand in order to fight we need to sell tickets in order to get our place on shows like this, which now coming back and, it being on my doorstep, there really is no reason people aren’t attending.”
“Everyone knew me as a boxer in Waterford but very few ever knew the level I was at or had ever even seen me actually fight. So it will be great to see old schoolmates and friends I haven’t seen in a long time at the event. As it has generated so much hype right now I can’t imagine anyone not going at this stage.”
First-time promoter Power has put together a solid show that could have an impact regardless of the location.
However, Waterford being the venue has become a massive theme of the Ring Kings show.
Dublin and particularly Belfast have dominated in terms of boxing. Limerick, Cork and Mayo would have been venues promoters considered in recent times, but Power feels the Déise is ready to host a fight night and surprised most when he announced it as the county to host the show.
Date is obviously delighted with the opportunity to return home and can see the potential for the sport down south.
In fact, the fighter is confident February 17th – the first pro fight night in Waterford since the 1940s – will be the first of many exciting nights of pugilism in the city.
“This is a big one for me. Belfast and Dublin have always been the home of professional boxing, I don’t think many people would have thought Waterford was the next location but I am sure after this event there will be many more held in Waterford,” he continued before exploring in more depth.
“I was happy to see the other day the announcement of a tv network picking up professional boxing again. I don’t think there are many nights like a professional boxing event and I’m glad to see it is getting the recognition it deserves now in Ireland. Hopefully it keeps increasing.”
“As for Waterford, I can imagine that this event will be the first time maybe 50% of the arena will ever have seen a professional boxing event live. What this will do for the county is amazing.”
“I would say nearly every day I am getting messages from people I haven’t spoke to in a while checking in and what not which is really great at the moment and pushing me on with training.”
“Hopefully whoever comes to the event gets behind all local talent amateur and pro inspiring them to continue reaching their goals whether the next events are in Waterford or anywhere in the country.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)