14 September 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Paul McCloskey is back in training ahead of an autumnal clash with European light-welterweight champion Soulemayne MBaye.
Having pulled out of their proposed summer showdown due to injury, McCloskey is fit and raring to go. Speaking to irish-boxing.com, the Dungiven native said the omens were good that the rescheduled bout would take place in Ireland.
“Its been frustrating, but not overly frustrating,” McCloskey said. “But everything should be tied up in the next week and a half. The dates arent completely certified. But there should be a press conference very shortly.
“Ive had other setbacks in my career, like a lot of fighters, so you put that to the back of your mind because that is the way the game can be sometimes. Even though I was injured I still kept myself in shape. I had a few weeks out of the gym since I hurt the hand, but Im already in pretty good shape, even though the fight is still eight to ten weeks away.
“I dont do the Ricky Hatton thing. My natural body weight is about 11stone 6lbs or 11 8, but at the minute Im 11, which is perfect building up to a fight.”
Something fight fans have noticed in recent McCloskey performances is his seemingly improved punching power something McCloskey puts down to better preparation.
“It cant be confidence because I always had that,” he jokes. “But I did a bit of work with Kerry Keyes a couple of years ago and started taking his supplements. Obviously I do conditioning work as well at home so those two combined seem to have made a bit of a difference. John (Breen) has said he notices a difference on the pads and Ive noticed it in the ring long may it continue.”
In McCloskeys absense, MBaye claimed the vacant European title with a split decision victory over Colin Lynes, the man McCloskey defeated to lift the British crown last year. Watching this fight has only increased the Derrymans belief that he will emerge victorious.
“I felt I had the tools to deal with him before he fought Colin Lynes and I still believe that now. He knows what he is doing but I feel it is my time. I feel I am at my peak and am performing to my very best. Im healthy, Ive no injuries and Im looking forward to it.”