Emerging talent Tiernan Bradley ‘relishing’ ‘massive’ step up

Tiernan Bradley [2(1)-0] suggests news he takes a ‘massive step up’ in Spain on Saturday night put’s a massive smile on his face.

In truth ‘massive’ is good promoter talk, but Spanish-based Nicuagrian Eduardo Valverde [2(1)-3(1)-1] over six rounds in Spain this Saturday remains an upgrade – and a very respectable test for a fighter with just two-fight experience.

The 25-year-old has upset previous, beating Romanian-born Spanish-based prospect Costin Ion and drawing on a Matchroom card with Brit Darren Reay.

It could be the kind of match-up that would raise a young fighter’s anxiety levels, but that’s not the case for Bradley, 23.

Instead the Dublin-based Omagh native’s excitement levels have risen and he is excited to have the chance to send his rankings in a similar upward direction.

” ‘Step up’ just means I’m climbing the ladder,” Bradley told Irish-boxing.com .

“If you’re staying in the same spot with the same ranking why bother fighting? I want to be up there in the rankings where I rightly belong and this fight should help me increase my ranking.”

The Steven O’Rourke trained fighter is aware that he has to earn his place on the next rung of the ladder – and that Valverde won’t give it to him easy.

There is a slight sense of jeopardy surrounding just his third pro outing, but that bring the kind of exciting air Bradley claims he thrives off.

“I fight better when I’m up against it. I relish in it so I don’t mind stepping up to the plate early,” he adds before discussing his opponent in an informed fashion.

“This fella has upset the cards a few times so I’m staying switched on the entire fight. He comes to scrap and is a tough nut to crack but I’ll be as sharp as a button and he won’t know what’s hit him when I get in the ring.”

Another stylish one-sided win would raise eyebrows, but a stoppage against the South American would prove a statement.

Still Bradley isn’t concerned as to which way he goes about getting his hand raised.

“If I get the 6 rounds in I’ll be over the moon, nothing better than getting the experience of 6 rounds under my belt, but if the stoppage comes I won’t be taking a backward step.”

Bradley is part of a group managed and advised by emerging manager Conor Slater.

The Slater crew have been nomadic, yet busy over the pandemic and more impressively there has been a push toward incremental upgrades.

The older brother of pro-Callum Bradley is delighted with that rate of progression pointing out, that when he does get to finally fight in front of fans he will be at such a level they won’t have to pay to watch him defeat journeymen.

“Hopefully this year I can stay busy as I can. Conor Slater, my manager has been working 24/7 getting us fights.

“That’s a tough job with the current environment with travel and Covid tests and no crowds.”

“When crowds do return I will be in tip-top shape and it will mean I won’t be getting the odd journeyman when they’re back. I’ll hopefully have people who come to scrap and I can bring some entertainment for all the fans returning to live boxing, ” he adds before discussing camp.

“Camp has been great I’m so lucky to have a few fellas around my weight in the gym because I was able to get as much sparring as I could staying within my bubble.”

Bradley has been slowly moving down the scales since he announced he was turning over and steps onto the scales lighter than his last fight.

Although he claims he could be stepping into the ring a little lighter if he hadn’t stepped up to the plate as much over Christmas!

“It’s another drop in weight from my last fight at 66.5kgs . I’ll be making under 65kg and if you haven’t already guessed I’ll be pushing for light welter as a more permanent weight. I would have made light welter for this fight if I didn’t have an extra week off at Christmas!”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com