30 October 2009 – By Mark Doyle
Souleymane M’baye has been stripped of the European light-welterweight title after pulling out of his scheduled November 6 defence against Paul McCloskey at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt.
M’baye has been forced to withdraw because of a bicep injury and McCloskey will now meet Spaniard Daniel Rasilla for the vacant title in Derry.
Promoter Barry Hearn commented: “M’baye’s withdrawal is unfortunate but ultimately Paul just wants to get his hands on the European title and he still has the opportunity to do just that in front of his own fans.
“Rasilla jumped at the chance when it was offered to him. He obviously sees this as a massive opportunity, he’s been in the gym training so making the weight will not be an issue for him and he’s promised that Irish eyes won’t be smiling next Friday night.”
McCloskey’s trainer John Breen is adamant, though, that the change of opponent will have no affect on the undefeated Dungiven native.
“Remember, he went in at a weeks’ notice himself to stop Colin Lynes to win the British title so this won’t bother him at all,” he pointed out.
“Obviously it’s a no-lose situation for Rasilla, he’s coming in to the fight the same way Paul did against Lynes so it’s a massive chance for him but Paul has trained long and hard for this and he’ll be ready for anything on the night.
“I’ve always believed that Paul’s a World class fighter and winning the European title will be just another step on the road to him proving that.”