Forget Danny Dignum and Steve Donnelly, Luke Keeler [17(5)-3(2)-1] fancies a fight with Jason Quigley [18(14)-1(1).
Irish defeater Dignum – the Essex fighter holds wins over Conrad Cummings and Alfredo Meli – and Olympian Donnelly have both dropped the Ballyfermot middleweight’s name of late, but neither really fit into the recent world title challenger’s clear two-fight plan of action.
The 160lbs fighter wants to come back from his defeat to WBO middleweight world champion Demetrius Andrade with a ring rust-freeing clash before taking on a name that can provide passage back to a title shot.
Jason Quigley, on the other hand, does fit the profile and is a fight Keeler is open to. Indeed, it’s one he would ‘fancy big time’.
Speaking to Irish-boxing.com, Keeler surmised, with travel being restricted at present, it could be the biggest possible clash available to both right now.
Reluctant to make it sound like a call out, he also suggests it would be nice to avenge his amateur defeats to the Golden Boy fighter and indicates the achievement of fighting the two named middles of his era – the Dubliner twice defeated Conrad Cummings- isn’t lost on him.
It would have to be noted Spike O’Sullivan was also a high profile 160lbs fighter in recent years, but is a former stablemate of Keelers and now a light middleweight world title hopeful.
“A Danny Dignum fight is of no real benefit to me. Don’t get me wrong he is a good fighter and it could be a good fight. But, if I am honest, it’s dangerous fight and he doesn’t bring anything to table for me.
The plan was for me to have an eight rounder in June and then fight a top 10 guy in August on the Féile. After that I would be back in the mix for another world title shot.”
“Things have been delayed, but I am still on that path way. Donnelly or Dignum don’t fit into the that plan really. Look, both are good lads, but I have spent years working to get where I am at. “
“You don’t want any unnecessary risks after working so hard to get world level. I would fight anyone at my weight and be confident of beating them, but they have to move me closer to the world title shot.”
A fighter Keeler believes can bring him closer to a world title shot is Donegal favourite Quigley.
“Jason defo’ fits into the plan. He has the standing, the ranking and brings lots of value to the table. I see he was close to fighting Jack Cullen. that is a decent fight for him, but to be honest I think I bring more to the table. It’s also a fight people would really get excited about and has the potential to be one people will remember for years to come, that excites you too.
“I fancy it big time. He beat me in the amateurs and it would be nice get that back. That’s not why I am suggesting it, but it’s an added bonus.”
Another bonus for Keeler would be the fact the pair would give the fans the kind of middleweight dust up John Duddy, Andy Lee and Matthew Macklin didn’t.
“I know [Irish-boxing.com] have mentioned it before and Kev Byrne also wrote about it [in the Irish Sun newspaper] we are kind of the Lee, Macklin Duddy of our era. I remember as a fan wanting them to fight, so it would be something to have fought Cummings and Quigley – and something to have beaten them both,” he adds before suggesting he believes the timing might be right to make the domestic dust up.
“I don’t see why it can’t be made. All Irish fights seem more plausible right now. If we both can’t travel or fly someone in then why not fight. Being honest I would like a warm up fight first, coming off the defeat, but I think it can be made. Andy [Lee] has worked with MTK making fights for Paddy Donovan, maybe he can help negotiate this one?”
“Again everyone would have loved it if Macklin, Duddy, and Lee fought. I heard they were all close to fighting at different stages,” he continues before smartly deflecting a question searching for inside info as to why they didn’t.
“I never heard anything behind closed doors. I don’t know why they never happened, you’d have to ask them. But if this one gets made you’s can boast another assist and have a good Irish fight to look forward too.”
If the pair were to agree to trade leather it would mean a meeting of two of Irish boxing’s genuine Mr. Nice Guys. Although that doesn’t mean there would be a lack of fight-building needle suggests Keeler.
“Jason is a lovely fella. We sparred recently and he is sound. He is a nice as he comes across from a distance. There is no grudge there or no tension between us, but you know yourself what can happen in the build up to a fight.
“When you’re in fight mode you can latch onto any little thing and get offended. He might say something to you that I read and don’t like and then think to myself ‘hold on a minute’. That happens, but when the fight is over and you’re not in that frame of mind you understand it. I am sure some tension might creep in, but it wouldn’t last past the fight.”
Lee admits he is quite happy he never fought the likes of Duddy, Macklin or even Darren Barker.
Although he wanted the fights at the time, he now points out that defeat in those clashes for any of the fighters would have been unbearable and could have detracted from all their achievements.
‘Cool Hand’ claims that thought never entered his head.
“When you think you’re going to win you don’t focus on that,” he laughs.
“But, either way, it wouldn’t bother me. Again that might because I have no fear and I fancy big time. It could be huge fight for Ireland and I think we both should be excited about giving the Irish fans that kind of fight,” he adds.
“I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into it, but it could be on the agenda. I don’t know what he thinks about it when this comes out you might get a word from him. “
“He might be thinking along the same lines. He might think he can get another big fight next or after Cullen. I seen he was talking about [Saul Canelo] Alvarez and [Jaime] Munguia, but I can’t see him getting Alvarez. The Munguia fight, with his Golden Boy connections and the fact they don’t seem to want to try and protect him a bit, maybe.”