By Jonny Stapleton
PAUL McCloskey is planning to bring a boxing star that will generate as much excitement in Belfast early next year as the celebrities that flocked to the Odyssey Arena for the EMA awards did last Sunday night.
A World title fight with Marcos Maidana proved to be beyond the grasp of the former European champion, but the Derry stylist is still perusing a fighter of the A list variety.
An opponent his team claim will ensure another sell out action packed night in the Belfast venue.
Dudey has the 10,000 seating Odyssey, which he packed when facing Breidis Prescott in a WBA world title eliminator in September, booked for February 18 and is lining up household light welterweight name that will help propel him back into world title reckoning.
Fans may be a little disappointed that a bout with ‘El Chino’ fell through but they will be appeased by the fact McCloskey has begun preliminary talks with the likes of Zab Judah and even Timothy Bradley.
Southpaw ‘Dudey’ hopes to have his twenty fifth opponent secured by the end of the month and is confident of luring a world known star to Ireland‘s current boxing capital.
“We are disappointed the fight with Maidana wasn’t made. I think Marcos wanted to come to Belfast. They put it down to money, but I think Golden Boy just didn’t want him coming here. There was talk he might be moving up to welterweight that might have played a part,” McCloskey’s manager Francie McNicholl told Mirror Sport.
“However we are looking at a number of options and we have the Odyssey booked for February 18 and in case we have to be flexible we have it provisionally booked for March 3. We will get the type of name that will be worthy of filling that arena. Everything is at the preliminary stages but Zab Judah, Eric Morales and Timothy Bradley are all options we are exploring. We hope to have it sorted by the end of the month.”
Meanwhile Ciaran Healy vowed to fight on despite loosing in France last weekend.
The Belfast fighter had the chance to hijack Bilel Latreche’s WBA Inter Continental title plans but lost on points over seas on Saturday.