Joe Fitzpatrick – “I know I’m the best lightweight in Ireland”

So desperate is Joe Fitzpatrick [6(4)-0] for some spotlight and an Irish title that he will do the boxing equivalent of stepping over your granny to get both in 2017.

‘The Dragon’ will aim to take step one along the road to putting a disappointing 2016 behind him with a victory over Budapest boxer Tamas Laska [16(8)-12(5)-1] on the MHD Promotions ‘Inquisition’ dinner show at the Europa Hotel this coming Saturday night.

However, the Belfast fighter has bigger fish to fry over the coming year and is determined to prove he is the best lightweight in Ireland. The latest of the skillful Mac Man is keen to kick on to the next level and wants the Irish title around his waist.

Indeed the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist went as far as to suggest he would fight his promotional stablemate and Saturday’s bill topper Paul Hyland Jr to achieve his 2017 goal.

“I had a pretty quiet 2016 due to a number of ongoing injuries, thankfully they are all sorted, but I know this year is going to put me in the spotlight,” Fitzpatrick told Irish-Boxing.com.

“I’ve already been talking to my manager [Mark Dunlop] about where we go this year. I am confident that I will get an Irish title fight this year. You know I’ve said already I will fight anyone in Ireland at lightweight, stablemates or not, and that stands,” he continued.

“I know I’m the best lightweight in Ireland and hopefully I get the opportunity to show that this year. I’m not in this to fight in small halls. I’m in this to make it to the top and I for sure will be the top oft the Irish lightweight division before 2017 is over.”

While Fitzpatrick’s desire has to be commended, a bout with Hyland looks unlikely. Having seen a proposed Irish title clash with Gearoid Clancy knocked back by the BUI, ‘Hylo’ is going the British route. Fergal McCrory was an option, but the Tyrone man will move down in weight after he appears on Saturday’s MHD Show.

Regardless of the permutations the unbeaten stylist has a fight to overcome this weekend.

He would be expected to beat his Hungarian foe, but has the added complication of stepping up to six rounds for the first time.

The confident Divis youngster is confident that neither will be a problem.

“Just like all my fights, I’m feeling great. I put in a smashing training camp with Nugget [Nugent], and Martin Lindsay. My weight is spot on, I’ve been following and sticking to a diet plan which made it easier. I have to thank Healthy Habits who sponsor me for that,” he added before addressing the six rounds issue.

“I’m comfortable with going into six rounds I’ve been doing more than six rounds sparing in the build to the fight, I’m fit and I’m ready for it.”

It shouldn’t go the six, however, if Fitzpatrick is to be believed.

“My thoughts on my opponent are like every opponent, don’t underestimate them. However, I know I’ve put in a good camp and I know I will hurt him. I predict getting back to knockouts. I’ll be aiming for a late knock out. I want to put on a good show for my supporters who spend their hard earned money to come and watch me.”

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