Luke Keeler “close to agreeing” Proper World Title shot


Irish boxing’s man of the moment could be close to a major opportunity.

The past few days have seen Dublin middleweight Luke Keeler [17(5)-2(1)-1] grace the world’s media following a back-and-forth with Conor McGregor during which the UFC superstar allegedly agreed to settle their differences in the ring.

However, the big fight planned for Keeler is not one with McGregor, it is perhaps even bigger.

‘Cool Hand’ has revealed that he is closing in on a legitimate world title fight.

Keeler has moved up to number four in the WBO 160lbs rankings and has this morning announced that advanced plans are in place for a world title challenge on St Patrick’s Weekend 2020.

In a post to Instagram, the 32-year-old said that “I’m up to Number 4 in the WBO World Rankings and close to agreeing World title fight [on] Paddy’s Weekend.”

“Thanks to Pete Taylor [trainer] and MTK Global [management] for getting me this far but I’m just getting started and I will go all the way.”

Keeler did not provide details beyond this but the logical assumption would be that the it would be the WBO World title that would be being challenged for.

The organisation’s current champion is slick American Demetrius Andrade [28(17)-0].

The Providence fighter defended the brown belt for a second time in June when he outpointed Maciej Sulecki. The Pole’s participation in this bout had been in doubt beforehand and Keeler had offered his services if needed.

READ: Luke Keeler open to World Title opportunity.

The Ballyfermot boxer now may get his chance next March – although it would be assumed that Andrade will defend his belt beforehand.

Alternatively, Keeler is currently ranked twelfth with the IBF whose belt is currently vacant – with Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Derevyanchenko set to fight for the red strap in October.

Beyond this, Mexican megastar Canelo Alvarez holds the WBA and WBC belts while Keeler’s managerial stablemate, and another name he has been linked to, Billy Joe Saunders, has the WBO super middleweight belt and also has a clear schedule.

Keeler has seen his star rise exponentially in recent times.

At the start of the month he claimed a career-best upset win over American Luis Arias on the big Feile an Phobail card in Belfast.

Then, last week, the likeable Dub offered a rare call-out, targeting McGregor [0-1(1)] after footage of the mixed martial artist seemingly striking a bystander in a bar emerged.

The fallout of this call-out led, apparently, to a heated phone call between the pair.

READ: Conor McGregor contacts Luke Keeler – Agrees to fight

Now though, Keeler looks set for an altogether different, and more testing, type of fight.

dpg

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie