20 August 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Bernard Dunne will make the first defence of his WBA super-bantamweight title against mandatory challenger Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym at Dublin’s O2 arena on September 26.
Dunne claimed the strap with a stunning stoppage victory over Ricardo Cordoba at the same venue in March.
The Dubliner was repeatedly linked with a summer showdown with Israel Vazquez but he has now been matched with the WBA’s interim champion, Kratingdaenggym.
The Thai boxer has won 38 of his 39 professional bouts, with 27 of those victories coming inside the distance. Kratingdaenggym’s only defeat came in July, 2006 when he was outpointed by Wladimir Sidorenko.
“Poonsawat has been waiting for a shot at the title for over 18 months now so hes a very determined man,” promoter Brian Peters said.
“He says he has no fear coming to Dublin to take on Bernard but lets not forget that Ricardo Cordoba said exactly the same thing. Bernards performance against Cordoba was sensational. The heart, the conditioning, skill and power he demonstrated on the night proved once and for all that he belongs up there with the very best and the scary thing is that I believe there is still more to come from Bernard.
“His strength and conditioning coach, Mike McGurn, believes that Bernard can improve threefold even on that performance so thats a scary prospect for any fighter, even one as good as Poonsawat.
“Of course, its not going to be easy because when you are a World Champion everyone is gunning for you because you have what every boxer wants. But Bernard has never, ever ducked a challenge and he wants to meet this one head on.
Kratingdaenggym, though, is supremely confident victory and expects to get the job done inside the distance.
“Ive been waiting for this chance for a very long time but Ive been kept busy and I am very determined to get what I finally deserve. I believe that I will knock Dunne out inside seven rounds.”
Kratingdaenggym also cast some doubt on the value of Dunnes sensational victory over the world-rated Cordoba while at the same time conceding that the Neilstown native might pack a punch.
“I watched that fight and and both Dunne and Cordoba are good fighters. But Im not sure that Cordoba was in the best shape for that fight. I fought him before and I know that hes not an easy guy to knock down. So either he came into that fight in poor condition or else Dunne must be a very big puncher.
“Clearly Dunne has a great fighting heart but I dont see him as a very skilled boxer. He proved against Cordoba that he has a big heart and maybe he is a big puncher but we will see what happens next month.”
In addition, it was confirmed that Andy Murray will defend his European title on the same bill. Tickets for the event go on sale on Friday, August 21 and the show will be broadcast live on RTE television.