24 August 2010 – Steve Wellings
Irish welterweight champion Stephen Haughian is looking to bounce back from title heartache with a victory over Birminghams Dee Mitchell on Barry McGuigans Ulster Hall bill on September 18. The Lurgan welterweight dropped a ten-round points decision to slippery Scotsman Kevin McIntyre at the Kings Hall in June for the Celtic crown but believes staying active will be the key to getting back into the title mix.
Its good to get back out again after the McIntyre fight and hopefully I can stay a bit busier from now on, admitted the 25-year-old, who meets Mitchell over six rounds. Im working hard in John Breens gym to get back on form and I just didnt feel sharp enough in my last bout, probably due to being out of the ring for so long. Ive been doing some good work back at home as well as travelling to Belfast to train with John and getting good sparring as usual. With the likes of Paul McCloskey, Willie Thompson and Michael McLaughlin in the gym I am always guaranteed good sparring.
Haughian is desperate to recapture the same level of performance that saw him claim the Irish title in February 2009 when he stopped Cork veteran Billy Walsh in three rounds. Standing in his way this time is 33-year-old Mitchell who holds a 9-8 record and has been in with good names like Prince Arron, Jack Arnfield and Pat McAleese during a four-year career. He was scheduled to meet Henry Coyle in Castlebar two years ago but the fight fell through at the last minute.
Dee has mixed mostly at light-middleweight and is coming down to welterweight so is likely to be strong, added Haughian. I believe he is a bit of a switch-hitter too so the quality southpaw sparring Im be getting will be an advantage. Mitchell is a dangerous opponent, he holds a win over Martin Concepcion, and Ill have to be focused. A good win can get the ball rolling again and hopefully I can stay active.
With tickets for the September 18 card nearly sold out, Haughian is expecting his first competitive start at the Bedford Street venue to be a memorable one.
Im expecting a good following to come down from Lurgan and the atmosphere will be good. I was supposed to make my professional debut in the Ulster Hall but I ended up boxing Paul McCloskey in an exhibition that night, so it will be a good experience for me fighting there for real.
September 18s Setanta televised card is topped by Carl Framptons clash with Yuriy Voronin. Jamie Conlan, Ryan Greene, Troy James and Chris Keane also feature. However, Limericks Willie Big Bang Casey has withdrawn from the card and will now attempt to chase down a European super-bantamweight title fight.
A limited number of ticket are still available, priced 55, 45, 35 and 30 from the Box Office on 028 90334455. For more information log on to www.ulsterhall.co.uk.