Darren Cruise [7(1)-5(0)] is aiming to make a triumphant return this Summer and claim the Irish title that he so badly craves.
The Roscommon middleweight is currently stationed in Syria with the Irish Army, but hopes to jump straight into a big fight later in the year.
While his recent results have been mixed, Cruise feels his career is on an upward trajectory and he takes heart from his past reversals – which included a narrow loss in an Irish title fight with JJ McDonagh and a dominant win against Ferenc Katona.
The Castlerea fighter, 27 this month, spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and described how “my 2016 was up and down. I really fancied my chances against JJ McDonagh for the Irish super middleweight title and I believe it was a fight that could have gone either way. I lost 96:95 but that could easily have been the opposite way round. We’ve all seen JJ and his knockout of [Matchroom light heavyweight prospect] Jake Ball, he really is a top fighter so I’m up there.”
“I’ve had two hard ten-round fights with Tom Baker [in July 2015] and JJ McDonagh and those two fights gave me great confidence going into the Katona fight and it was my best performance to date.”
Cruise, encouraged by his recent fights, is targeting an Irish title fight and one name in particular – Dublin’s Luke Keeler [11(5)-2(1)]. The pair have already been authorised to fight for the belt by the Boxing Union of Ireland, and the Connacht fighter wants the bout next. Cruise envisions the fight as a bill-topper in the capital, which certainly seems possible considering his promoter Mark Dunlop’s good links with Dublin-based outfits Red Corner Promotions and FS Promotions. Another possibility could be a prominent undercard fight, due to Keeler’s links with Matchroom, on the mooted Katie Taylor homecoming at the 3Arena later this year.
The fight-anyone Cruise outlined how “in 2017 my main goal is to come back in April, go straight back into training, and fight for the Irish middleweight title against Luke Keeler in June or July. I don’t need any warm up fights. I think myself and Luke is a potential fight of the year and a definite bill-topper in Dublin and after I win that, which I would be very confident of doing, I will be looking to build on that and see what big names want to fight me.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show