18 August 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Irish welterweight champion Stephen Haughian believes the next 12 months will see him make the leap into major championship class.
The Lurgan native has not fought since stopping Drew Campbell inside one round in April but is hopeful of securing a place on the undercard for Bernard Dunnes proposed WBA super-bantamweight title defence at The O2 in Dublin next month.
Certainly, Haughian feels ready to take a step up in class and gain more exposure.
Im 18-1 at this stage so its time to start pushing on and get the opportunities, the 25-year-old told irish-boxing.com. Im raring to get back in the ring.
They are hoping to get me on in an eight-rounder on the Dunne bill and then, after that, with a bit of luck Ill get a big fight on the (Paul) McCloskey show. Pauls fighting for the European title so if I could get an EU title fight that would be great just as a stepping stone.
The fight that most boxing fans want to see is Haughian squaring off with Commonwealth welterweight king John ODonnell a contest that would also see the John Breen trained box-fighter putting his domestic crown on the line.
John won the title on the show I fought on in April and we were looking to get fighting him after that certainly by September. But it looks like it will be a while longer before that happens.
Although admitting to being a little frustrated by his inactivity, as well as the traditional summer cooling off period, Haughian says that John Breen and Eamonn Magee are keeping him on his toes.
Thats boxing for you. There will always be setbacks and slow periods but you have to keep training. Opportunities arrive when you least expect it so you always have to be ready. John and Eamonn are keeping me sharp in the gym. I havent lost any fitness and my weight is good. Im always half in shape so when I come to Belfast its just to step it up.