Luke Keeler misses out on World Title ‘final’ eliminator chance


Luke Keeler [15(5)-2(1)-1] can look at it two ways – a massive missed opportunity or a sign that world title shot isn’t too far away.

The Ballyfermot middleweight certainly would have allowed the ‘what if?’ question to cross his mind upon hearing the news the clash between Gabriel Rosado [24(14)-11(4)-1] and Maciej Sulecki [27(11)-1(0)] set for the the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia this weekend is essentially a world title final eliminator.

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn confirmed the winner of the 160lbs bout that plays out on card that includes Katie Taylor, Jono Carroll and John Joe Nevin is likely to face WBO kingpin Demetrius Andrade as a voluntary in July.

“I’m pretty sure that the winner of Saturday’s fight will be the next opponent for Demetrius in June,” said Hearn.

“It’s a massive fight for Gabe and Maciej – we know that DAZN is the home of the middleweights and these two have the opportunity on Friday to unlock the door to the big time.”

“I expect an absolute war between both men, I think it could be fight of the night and on this card, that’s saying something!”

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At first glance the news may seem irrelevant to Keeler, who has an all Irish fight with Conrad Cummings to look forward to, but considering the WBO #12 was offered the chance to fight Rosado on this very card suggests he was so close to being one fight away from a world title shot.

After just returning from a back injury at the turn of the year a trip to away to face the known name didn’t appeal and Keeler instead rematches Conrad Cummings on Friday March 29th at the Ulster Hall in Belfast.

Speaking on Newstalk 106FM’s Off The Brawl last month, Keeler revealed that “there was talk of me fighting Gabriel Rosado, that offer was made – but it was just a bit close after injury so we turned it down.”

“We agreed that we’d take the Cummings fight and them fights will be there, say, in June time,” he added before expressing a tinge of regret due to his recovery from injury going better than expected.

Now, with a world title shot seemingly on the line, it looks like a missed opportunity and Keeler who will have to remain focused on his own eliminator and rematch with Coalisland’s Cummings [16(7)-2(0)-1].

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However, the Pete Taylor-trained fighter will take solace in the fact he was considered for the clash and, with Eddie Hearn having a little soft spot for the Dub, big fights Stateside may be offered again.

The news will also encourage WBO #15 Cummings ahead of the repeat while Jason Quigley’s ears will prick up considering he has been linked with Rosado in the past. Indeed the Philly fighter would claim that the Donegal prospect and Gary O’Sullivan also turned down the fight this Friday – although the Andrade ‘eliminator’ status is based upon Sulecki’s #6 ranking rather than anything on Rosado’s side

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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: [email protected]