Red Corner are billing the main event on their third promotional installment as a career-defining clash.
The young promotional outfit also hint its is a risk they didn’t have to take for Luke Keeler and one they didn’t have to take with a fighter they have used to top all of their bills so far.
Having done well to build the Ballyfermot middleweight toward a European title shot with ranking wins over known names British names Bradley Pryce and Lewis Taylor, Red Corner have agreed to let ‘Cool Hand’ fulfill his Irish title dream.
Although the Irish title comes with a European ranking boost, there were possibilities to take a continental scalp, but the Dublin promotional team have made a clash both fighters requested and they feel the fans want.
It’s one they seem genuinely excited about and are struggling to call, but they have stressed losing isn’t an option in terms of their plans for Keeler.
“In real terms this is a career-defining fight for both boxers,” Jonathan Graham told Irish-Boxing.com.
“Winning this fight for Luke means that a European title is getting nearer each fight.”
“We’ve managed to guide him into the European rankings, so obviously we want to keep him making progress. This is a step in the direction we’re going.”
“Obviously, for ourselves and particularly Luke, losing this fight is not an option. It’s not an easy fight to be taking either, we could have avoided it but who doesn’t want to be Irish champion?”
Graham also revealed that the fight, sanctioned by the BUI last Summer, has been in the works since the inception of the promotional outfit.
The Sinn Féin councillor recalled how the fight was “something we first looked at in November for our first show because, despite a bad loss to Tom Doran, collectively ourselves and Packie [Collins,trainer] didn’t want Luke to be waiting around fighting nobodies and in meaningless fights, it’s a waste of time.”
“We angled for this fight but unfortunately Darren had work commitments and had to travel overseas with the army, so it was only natural that when both fighters were available we signed this fight.”
“It’s a fight that we thought first and foremost appealed to fans. Everyone loves a good domestic fight, it piques the interest of the casual fan and always tends to be the most entertaining fight in and out of the ring, just look at Gomez v McDonagh to see that.”
Although the popular Keeler isn’t signed to Red Corner, they have worked closely with him of late and they do have plans to build him further in Dublin.
In that regard they are banking on him winning in the National Stadium on Saturday, but Graham is adamant that it is not a given. As if to almost torture himself, Graham argues the case for a result the people of the West would be happy with.
“What’s more is that this is a real 50:50 fight, the naysayers can say as they please, all that talk of ability aside, we know for a start Darren Cruise is an Intermediate champion and you don’t win an Intermediate title for being useless do you?”
“Luke never won an Irish title so there’s an obvious pedigree that Darren has that Luke doesn’t.”
“Also everyone raises their game for a domestic title fight, we see it all the time in Britain, lads who on paper shouldn’t be in the same ring as the other fella, but that’s the spirit of these fights.”
“Luke is in great shape, he’s having some great spars. Darren similarly, he’s been away and trained a lot so if they come as they are, fit and ready, potentially we are looking at the one of the best domestic fights seen in years.”
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo and Ricardo Guglielminotti