Luke Keeler planning to up his game following tough Taylor test

Luke Keeler [12(5)-2(1)] scored the best win of his career last night in Dublin, but believes he can hit new heights going forward.

The Ballyfermot middleweight overcame former English champion Lewis Taylor in an exciting clash that headlined the Red Corner Promotions ‘Unfinished Business’ bill at the National Stadium.

Moving into European contention, the Dub is planning to take his training to a new level in search of the title.

It was a hard-fought win for the qualified engineer, and he admitted afterwards that the fight was tougher than what he had been expecting.

“I felt a bit flat,” Keeler explained. “I had warmed up, but it [the card] dragged on. To be honest, I underestimated him a bit from watching clips. I didn’t put enough into the gym as I should’ve with work and that. The next one I have to.”

“I thought I’d have it easier, I thought I’d catch him a bit more and have my own way. But he was a lot fitter and that bit tougher than I thought. I thought I’d break him down, but he pressed the pace and put me off my rhythm, and he did it well.”

“He was a lot faster than [Bradley] Pryce. He was a lot physically stronger. He didn’t punch as heard, but he was catching me clean and he shouldn’t have been.”

“I got the win, a good eight rounds, and I’ll build on that, keep the momentum going, and keep the shows in Dublin.”

The final scorecard of 80:72 in favour of the Irishman seemed scarcely believable considering the tight nature of the bout, and Keeler did note how “it was a lot closer than that in fairness to him. He was a tough lad. A couple of rounds was all it was. That doesn’t do him any justice, he’s a nice guy, and that scorecard doesn’t reflect the fight at all. I knew I won it, but at the same time I didn’t feel one million percent either.”

Taylor had been ranked #12 with the European Boxing Union beforehand, and Keeler is expected to enter the rankings once they are updated. A fight for the blue belt is the Dubliner’s goal for 2017, and he wants to return to the ring “as soon as the lads [Red Corner] can go. I think the end of May or June.”

“That should push me up the rankings and I’ll just keep building on that. I want a good opponent [next], we’re not going to step back. I want a tough fight and I’ll take it serious, put the camp in, take a couple of weeks off work.”

“With tough fights like that, learning fights like that, two or three more of them, and you can’t be far off [the European title]. I need to up my game as well otherwise it’s not going to happen.”

“I just have to get into the gym and work harder. Make it that bit easier next time. You learn from it, go back, and improve.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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