Matchroom Press Release
Paul McCloskey says he wants to challenge Marcos Maidana for the WBA Light Welterweight title in Belfast after defeating Breidis Prescott in a thrilling eliminator contest on Saturday night.
The Dungiven fighter bounced back from a first round knockdown and a bloodied nose in the second round to secure a gritty win in front of a packed Belfast crowd.
McCloskey admitted to a slow start in the fight but he finished strongly as the Colombian began to tire, and will now seek a second shot at the World title, this time with a home town show against the Argentinean Maidana.
“I would love to fight Maidana, we have already spoken on Twitter – he’s a true gent and a great fighter,” said McCloskey. “I think it’s a fight that could happen and it would be fantastic to have it in Belfast again. The support on Saturday was unbelievable, it really pushed me over the line in the last round.”
Prescott wobbled McCloskey with a couple of big rights in the sixth round – the round that the Colombian predicted he would win the fight. But McCloskey stood firm and grew into the fight in the second half of the action, something he attributed to his excellent conditioning training.
McCloskey began to find joy with his work to Prescott’s body in the latter rounds and winded Prescott who began to tire, McCloskey sensed his chance and was the constant aggressor as the fight drew to a close.
The final round was greeted by thunderous roar from the crowd and both McCloskey responded with a flurry of punches in a crucial assault in the last three minutes that would ultimately clinch victory for McCloskey.
“I am so happy the way I won the fight because I started off terrible tonight,” said McCloskey. “I lost the first few rounds. He was out-jabbing me and I had to find a way round it. I had to work round it.
“Prescott hits hard but after five rounds, that power seemed to dip for some reason. I don’t know why but we talked about this before the fight. “I felt it dip. When he hit me in the first few rounds I could really feel it, but after that it wasn’t so tough.
“I’m a skilful fighter but as I’ve showed in a few of my other fights, I’ve got a big heart. And in this game you’re going to have nights when you need to dig deep and I dug deep tonight.
“Maybe I wasn’t sharp tonight. Prescott has long reach and he’s deceiving in the way he throws his punches, he was catching me with jabs and I thought this shouldn’t be happening. But I pulled out the right result in the end.”
McCloskey’s promoter Eddie Hearn said that work on a World title fight would begin right away, and that a return to the Odyssey Arena was a strong possibility.
“I would love it to be in Belfast but we will go anywhere to turn Paul into a World Champion,” said Hearn. “He deserves a World title shot after beating a man that everyone else avoids. He will say himself that it wasn’t his best performance skill-wise, but the determination and courage Paul showed against Breidis is worthy of a World title shot alone.
“The Odyssey Arena was rocking and everyone left with a smile on their face. That’s what Paul brings to the table – a great fan base and guaranteed entertainment. That’s the perfect mix for a World title fight.”