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New Year’s Resolutions: Luke Keeler aiming to Cruise to European title in make-or-break 2017

Luke Keeler [11(5)-2(1)] has rebuilt from his sickening loss to Tom Doran, and is now looking to begin down a path towards a European title.

The Ballyfermot middleweight was knocked out in the second round by Doran back in April in a scarcely believable fight where he floored the Welshman before being caught and stopped himself.

The loss saw Keeler make tweaks to his game, and he would rebound to score a career-best win over Bradley Bryce in Dublin in November.

The Celtic Warriors Gym fighter pinpoints the Doran defeat as a turning point in his career, and explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “I’ll take the positives from the year and won’t dwell on the loss. I look back at it as blessing in disguise. I was neglecting my boxing ability and defence thinking could win on aggression alone but was found out and I won’t let that happen again. There was a bit of bad luck involved but still valuable lesson learned.”

With a solid comeback win secured, Keeler now wants the EBU title. The Dubliner has route planned, and wants this to include an Irish title fight with Darren Cruise [7(1)-5(0)]. Keeler outlined how “I’ll be fighting at the end of February against a good, European ranked opponent which will push me up European rankings. Hopefully then one more fight before an Irish title fight with Cruise in June, then another ranking fight or two before I challenge and win the European title before year is out.”

Keeler feels the Irish title fight, which has been authorised by the Boxing Union of Ireland, is one which can be made easily, and revealed how “we already agreed to fight for November but he had to travel with work. Fair play to him jumping back in with title fight but there is no chance he’s beating me.”

It’s an ambitious plan, and the 29 year old admits that any hiccups will signal an end to his relatively short time in professional boxing. Keeler described how “I’m dedicating myself fully to boxing this year. Work [Keeler is a qualified engineer] will take a backward step. I know I don’t have any more chances left – another defeat and that’s me retired. I’m not in this sport for a few years picking up meaningless wins or taking anymore losses. I’m dedicating myself fully to the sport and I’ll make sure I leave with no regrets.”

Finally, showing appreciation to his backers, Keeler said “thanks to Red Corner Promotions for running shows in Dublin. It’s a great advantage sleeping in own bed and having the support of all my family and friends at the shows. Support and momentum will only build with regular shows and I’m looking forward to the year ahead and sharing more title wins with my support, Paschal, and all the Celtic Warrior team.”

Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography

Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show

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