03 November 2008 – by Cormac Campbell
Paul McCloskey will be back in action on the December 5 undercard of British light-welterweight title fight between Colin Lynes and David Barnes. Victory in a scheduled eight rounder should secure the unbeaten stylist a crack at the title for early 2009.
The past 12 months have been something of a mixed bag for McCloskey. Last December the Dungiven native stepped up in class at the Kings Hall with an impressive victory over the once formidable Tontcho Tontchev. Then came the first real test. Topping a bill for the first time, McCloskey toyed with former WBC lightweight kingpin Cesar Bazan in Letterkenny in March. His next contest set about securing a crack at the coveted Lonsdale belt. A Limerick bout with fellow contender Nigel Wright in July proved to be a difficult nights work as an eye injury turned the bout in to a brawl.
McCloskey prevailed, but since then he has effectively been left sitting on his hands, waiting for his opportunity to come.
For a while I didnt know when I would be fighting, whether that would be September, October or November – now it is December, he told irish-boxing.com.
Itll be a week or two before they have anybody confirmed but Ill just be working away. Its an eight round contest but hopefully it will get me a title fight so I will be training my ass off. It is a matter of going out there and doing a job.
Whilst the fight is effectively designed to put a fight between McCloskey and the victor of Lynes Barnes in the public conscience, many boxers have struggled to raise their game when forced to mark time. However, according to 29-year-old McCloskey this wont be the case for a very simple reason.
There is a great buzz in the gym at the moment, he said.
Joe Rea is going to be in the Middleweight Prizefighter, so Im doing a wee bit of sparring with him and all the other lads. With Jason (McKay), Stephen (Haughian) and Martin Rogan also having big fights soon there is a great atmosphere in the gym at the minute.
With Oisin Fagan also expected to hook up with John Breen for his clash with Amir Khan, this good feeling looks set to bubble over, allowing McCloskey perfect sparring opportunities. Also keeping McCloskey motivated is the knowledge that best laid plans often have to be scrapped due to poor performances.
We saw what happened to Kelly Pavlik against Bernard Hopkins. He is in a privileged position to still be world champion, but a slip up can be very costly.
Barring injuries of course, Id hope a title fight could be secured for the end of January or early February – Id be ready. If that was the case there would be no holidays this year I would be happy to train over Christmas.
As well as boxing, McCloskey is also fascinated by the exploits of his second cousin and townsman Eoghan Quigg who has been making waves as a singer on ITVs X-Factor.
The town has a great buzz about it. Everyone has t-shirts and signs. Its a good positive energy in the area.
Despite this pride, it remains to be seen whether McCloskey will change his ring entrance theme to a track performed by young Quigg.
Ive kept my roots to the town. The music I come in to is a dancier version of Black is the colour by Cara Dillon, who is also from Dungiven. There is a lot of music in my family as well, a lot of traditional music but you never know.