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New Beginning Countdown: Anto ‘The Pride of Dublin’ Fitzgerald in-depth

With Saturday fast appoaching, irish-boxing.com continues its countdown to the Jamie Conlan-headlined ‘New Beginning’ card in the National Stadium with an in-depth look at Anto Fitzgerald.

A former Irish super middleweight champion, Fitzgerald [17(4)-7(2)] now finds himself down at light middleweight – a weight class which suits his swarming, pressing style a lot more. Where he was formerly outweighed and outsized by opponents, Fitzy is now the bigger man in the ring and will be looking to use this advantage to good effect.

Always great at selling a clash, Fitzgerald will also back any trash talk up in the ring – and the Dub has been involved in a number of wars and ‘fights of the year’. The 30 year old has a loyal legion of vociferous fans who always come out in large numbers to his fights and are sure to be there on Saturday, roaring their man on.

Fitzgerald has never shied away from a challenge, and with the return of big time boxing to the capital, the man they call ‘The Pride of Dublin’ will be looking to impress. The Sean McDermott Street native has a star-studded list of past opponents having shared the ring with Andy Lee, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gary O’Sullivan, and Eamonn O’Kane among others.

Fitzgerald was knocked out in the first round of his grudge match last year with Gary O’Sullivan but, in a true show of sportsmanship, the Dubliner congratulated his defeater and immediately redoubled his training to boil off the weight and start afresh at 154lbs. This fresh start began in March, in Preston, where Fitzgerald won a six round contest over John Brennan.

Fitzy will fight over 8 rounds on Saturday against the durable Kieron Gray – a 37 year old English journeyman [8(1)-40(5)-1]. ‘Slammer’ Gray has mixed it with all manner of British prospects including Anthony Ogogo, Bradley Skeete, Joe Selkirk, and Tommy Langford.

A comprehensive win for the MGM-trained Dubliner will set him up nicely as he looks for more big names and big fights in his new weightclass – with Irish champion Dee Walsh, and new European champ Cedric Vitu, both firmly in his eye-line.

Doors open at the National Stadium at 6pm and tickets are available from ticketmaster.ie. ‘New Beginning: Conlan-Granados’ will also be shown live on Boxnation from 7pm.

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