Joe Fitzpatrick calls for more all-Irish fights following Webb win


Joe Fitzpatrick [9(6)-0] wants to continue on his crusade to prove he is the best lightweight in Ireland by taking on domestic opposition on the Féile card in August.

‘The Dragon’ ended an 18-month ring sabbatical with an impressive second round stoppage over near neighbour Stephen Webb on ‘Celtic Clash 8’ – and, having tasted a derby win, wants more all-Irish fights.

The Divis favourite, who looked as fit and as aggressive as he ever has as a pro in the Devenish last Saturday, wants on the Michael Conlan versus Vladimir Nikitin undercard on August 3rd – and wants to fight Irish opposition at the Falls Park.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the ring. Hopefully get another fight soon and hopefully get another Irish rival. I am here to take on anybody. I am saying I am the best lightweight in Ireland so I don’t see why not,” he explained after Saturday’s win.

“I would like to get on undercard of the Féile, but I don’t know what’s happening it was just get this fight out of the way, next one is hopefully the Féile card.”

Being a West Belfast ticket seller Fitzpatrick looks a fit for the Summer event, and his team have offered his services to the occasion, but MTK fighters will be in Féile pole and the 24-year-old’s return may instead have to come on the next Boxing Ireland card.

Regardless, the Commonwealth Games silver medalist wants another derby clash. In fact, Fitzpatrick claims he would take on any Irish fighter at his weight including the likes of James Tennyson and Gary Cully,

“I am ready to fight anyone at all. I know I am the best lightweight in Ireland bring them on Tennyson, Cully, the whole squad, I am ready for them.”

The Mac Man seems to want to prove he is Ireland’s leading 135lbs fighter, but has other reasons for wanting domestic dust ups.

It seems the more wider interest in the fight the more interest the southpaw is in training.

Fitzpatrick returned fitter than ever and admitted his Boxing Ireland debut came on the back of his first full camp.

The prospect reveals Webb played a part in him living the life as did the passing of his father, Gerry.

“I said before there fight that there is the best camp I have ever put in. I was living in solitude and I haven’t done that since I turned pro. I probably haven’t done it since the Commonwealth Games.”

“[Being involved in a local derby] made me more dedicated and made me want to train more. Obviously my Daddy passing away as well that had a big part to play in it. I was going to retire until my Daddy passed away and I thought I’d give it one more bite,” he adds before stating Saturday proved an emotional occasion. 

“I was close to tears before the fight just thinking about it. It’s just hard for me. I knew he was in there with me anyway.”

Saturday’s win over Webb was Fitzpatrick’s first in fight in 18 months and just his third in two-and-a-half years. Some would worry whether his return will prove fleeting, but the Belfast fighter seems intent on making the most of his talents by becoming a regular fixture again.

“That there is me back on the ball. I’ll keep myself focused on the next one now.”

“There was a lot of tickets sold for this fight. A lot of people came to watch me and I respect that. I wanted to put on a good performance to make sure they come back and watch me again.”

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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: [email protected]