There is going to be an Irish takeover in New York on Saturday night.
Katie Taylor looks to unify her WBA lightweight title with the IBF belt of Victoria Noelia Bustos on the big Matchroom USA bill at the Barclays Centre but the Bray sensation is not the only Irish fighter in action that night.
On the undercard in Brooklyn, a sizeable portion of the crowd will be there for Monaghan light welter Larry Fryers [6(2)-0] who fights for the first time this year, taking on Russian threat Nikolay Buzolin [5(1)-3(1)].
Based in East Durham in Upstate New York, the Clones puncher has become a local favourite recently and has sold an eye-popping 300 tickets for his spot on the show – which will be the second time he shares a New York bill with an Irish Olympic medalist having featured on the Mick Conlan debut undercard at Madison Square Garden last year.
Last time out, Fryers took the undefeated record of Puerto Rican Charles Natal, dominating over six rounds on a DiBella Entertainment card in B.B. King’s.
“I had a great end to 2017,” he tells Irish-Boxing.com. “There were a few disappointments at the start of 2018 with a fight falling through in February but now to be on a show of this magnitude is unbelievable and I can definitely feel momentum building with my career.”
“It’s an absolute honour to be on the same card as Katie Taylor – I mean, she’s an Irish sporting legend!”
Formerly a top-level amateur back home and a part of the High Performance Unit, Fryers has happened across Taylor before – well, sort of.
The 27-year-old recalled how “it’s funny, my best memory of Katie Taylor from the amateur days was down at the High Performance.”
“The guy I was supposed to be sparring hadn’t shown up so the coach said ‘okay, you’re going into Ring Two’ – and who was there only Katie Taylor and some other guy.”
“I remember shitting myself because I knew she would have busted me up as she busted all the lads up.”
“I was never so glad as when, at the last minute as I was about to get in the ring. the coach said ‘wait, go to Ring One’ as my guy had shown up. Talk about relief!”
This weekend’s show will be Matchroom’s second Stateside venture and, with an exciting style and a huge following, Fryers would seem to be a perfect fighter for undercards going forward.
‘Lethal Larry’ acknowledges this and outlined how “obviously with such a big outfit as Matchroom, I’m going out to impress as I know the opportunities it could present to me if I do well.”
“So far I’ve done okay, I’ve sold just over 300 tickets for this show so I’ll have a hell of an atmosphere there cheering me on and then it’s up to me to catch their eye with my performance – which I’m going to do.”
“Not only do I want to make an impression on them but also for the fans who have spent their hard-earned money to come watch me – and hopefully that will be enough for them [Matchroom] to make me a regular on their shows over here.”
Standing in his way on Saturday is Buzolin, a dangerous Russian with a number of upsets and close losses to his name as well as experience in ten-round title fights.
“We all know how tough the Russians are but I wanted it no other way,” states Fryers.
“I want to be in there with the best possible opponent that’s out there and I’m glad he wanted the fight as much as I did.”
“It’s a third hard fight in a row but that’s just the way I want it and I’m glad my team are on the same wavelength as me and respect my decisions to keep taking these step-ups this early in my career. It will stand to me in the future.”
It’s a somewhat late start to the year for the Ulsterman but he is hoping for a jump-start.
Fryers noted how this is a great way to get 2018 up and running and me and my team are really going to kick on for the rest of the year.”
“I’m 6-0 going on 7-0, all going well Saturday night, and the goal is to get to 10 or 11-0 by the end of the year.”
“We’ve got big plans of our own as well which could be on offer after Saturday night so 2018 is looking to be a good year for me.”