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McLaughlin: I am the best welterweight in Ireland I want the Irish title

Donegal welterweight Michael McLaughlin [10(5)-1(0)-1] scored the best win of his career to date on Saturday when he defeated Roberto Valenzuela in Boston via technical decision.

The veteran Mexican has 56 knockout wins to his name but was thoroughly outboxed by the Inishowen southpaw, before a fifth round clash of heads brought an end to the contest.

Of the victory, the 30 year told Donegal’s Inish Times that “It’s a great win for me against a really dangerous fighter who’s gone the distance with World Champions in the past. I knew with his record he had a big punch and he did catch me with a right hand in the first round. He was only throwing single shots though and I was much the busier fighter and kept the pressure on him all the time.”

Indeed McLaughlin felt that he was on course for a more traditional stoppage victory before the bout was halted saying that “the fight was stopped in the fifth but I was ready to knock him out at that stage as his eyes were twisted.”

McLaughlin is now adjusting his sights to a potential tilt at the Irish welterweight title. The former Cardonagh ABC man has claimed that “I feel I’m the best welterweight in Ireland and, whether it’s vacant or I’m a challenger – I’ll fight anyone I have to for the title.”

Any assault on titles has now become a lot more feasible since linking up with Murphy’s Boxing. Of the new arrangement McLaughlin elaborated that “I have the same promoter as Spike O’Sullivan now and there is word of him fighting for a World Title in Wexford or Wicklow later in the year so I could fight on the undercard of that.”

The Donegal man knows the perils of trying to make your way in boxing without powerful backing, commenting that “I’ve had a lot of fights falling through over the last few years so I’m keen to keep busy and I’ll probably be back in the gym this week”.

McLaughlin is looking at perhaps one more fight stateside before he launches his bid for the belt last held by Stephen Haughian., He predicted that “I’ll have a sit down with Ken Casey to discuss the next move but I’ll probably fight in America again before looking at a homecoming show.”

It seems to be a fruitful relationship between McLaughlin and his new promoters with the popular welterweight revealing that “they had to move Saturday night’s show to a bigger venue to accommodate the demand for tickets and the support I’ve been getting over here from the Irish community has been unbelievable.”

A popular and talented fighter, who now has substantial backing – hopefully it is only a matter of time before McLaughlin returns to an Irish ring.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie