From the outside looking in it’s the most eagerly anticipated, intriguing, high quality, hard to call Irish title fights in recent times, but for Joe Fitzpatrick [10(7)-0] it’s just another day at the office.
Since returning after an 18 month sabbatical in the Summer of last year the latest fighter off the ‘Mac Man’ production line has been declaring himself ‘the best lightweight in Ireland’.
The Commonwealth Games medal winner called out any willing lightweight and secured a mouthwatering clash with Gary Cully [9(4)-0] .
The BUI Celtic Champion takes on the fellow southpaw at the Ulster Hall on February 1 in what is fast becoming the most eagerly anticipated clash of an action packed night for Irish boxing.
However, despite hyping himself up as the best at the weight, the general hype around the fight and the ability of the clash to boost the career of the victor, ‘The Dragon’ refuses to get too excited.
In an almost defiant confidence he told Irish-boxing.com the Irish title fight which will be broadcast in America on ESPN+ ‘is just another day at the office’.
“It’s going to be great winning the Irish title being an Irishman. However I see it as another day in the office – another fight and title,” the Boxing Ireland half of the fight said.
The Falls Road fighter doesn’t see the pressure or pit falls that usually hinders other domestic fighters from agreeing to the all Irish clash, rather he see’s the opportunity.
As a result he goes into an Irish title fight, that he called for, excited rather than afraid.
“You’re right I did want this fight, and I am over the moon that it is now happening.
“This is the type of fights that I need. A boxing career has a very short shelf life and there is no point fighting people who will not help catapult my career forward,” he adds before hinting he is surprised the Naas talent took him up on his offer.
“I’m surprised the fight even happened never mind this quick but I will prove myself.”
While he is somewhat playing down the pressure element to the fight Fitzpatrick does know it’s a significant one.
The 25-year-old knows a win over Cully would put move his career substantially.
“It’s not the perfect start to the year but it is a good start, the perfect start is being a millionaire living in the Bahamas, but maybe that’s the way 2021 will start – the future is bright.”
Despite being of a similar age and to a degree being similar level amateurs the pairs paths haven’t crossed too much over the years.
The fact Cully has size to go with his skill set makes him somewhat avoided, but it’s not something Fitzpatrick is worried about.
“I have not met someone of Gary’s stature in the professional game as of yet. However coming through the amateur ranks I have met various larger opponents who went on to become solid professionals,” adds the Belfast half of the fight.
“As you know I don’t really watch opponents. I take advice from my team and do as I’m told. There are people better positioned to give fighter analysis than I am.”