A venture into the unknown with big money on the line and an unfamiliar format, single-elimination tournaments can be crazy affairs.
Expect this to excess on Saturday March 3rd at the National Stadium, with the Ireland’s Last Man Standing competition also bringing in a sizeable knockout bonus.
While the winner in Dublin will receive €25,000, the quickest knockout will also be awarded €5,000 on top of the flat €1,000 for all stoppages.
With incentives like these, promoters Red Corner and Assassin are hoping that the eight fighters involved will be swinging for the fences from the opening bell.
That can’t be said though of Dubliner Bernard Roe [6(1)-0].
The Celtic Warriors man is approaching the contest in business-like fashion, he is there to get in, get the wins, and get out.
Knockout bonuses aren’t a factor to Roe who jokes how “25 grand is loads.”
“To be honest, when you go looking for the knockout it never happens, you’re best off sticking to your boxing. You don’t want to be in two wars before you get to the final, you want to be smart.”
The line-up revealed on Wednesday was strong, perhaps stronger than Roe had expected, but the Sheriff Street all-rounder is confident he can adapt and be the last man standing in seven weeks time.
He outlined how “it’s a very strong line-up and a step-up for all of us when you look at everyone’s records of opponents.
“There’s more to be gained than there is to be lost – for me, personally. It was too good an opportunity to pass up.”
“I’m still early on, it’s not too long ago that I was boxing amateur. I will though have to adjust training to get back starting a bit faster but I think it will suit me.”
Paschal Collins’s Celtic Warriors Gym is quite familiar with the format of such competitions, with former members Jono Carroll and Luke Keeler having fought on Prizefighter cards on Sky Sports.
“The knowledge is there,” notes Roe.
“I got a text off Luke wishing me luck and saying that he’s there for sparring if I need it. He’ll be good to talk with about the experience, and Paschal obviously had Jono in it too.”
Such is the relatively small pool in Ireland, all the fighters announced on Wednesday were quite familiar with each other.
Roe has history with some of the participants, but is all too aware of the unpredictable nature of the competition and is not banking on anything.
The 26 year old recalled how “I’ve boxed Chris Blaney twice, he beat me, unfortunately. I boxed [Alfredo] Meli, I beat Meli, as an amateur. And then I know a couple of the others, I know Roy [Sheahan], I know Sean McGlinchey, I know Poddy McCrory.”
In terms of a dream final opponent he added that “Chris would be nice, to get the revenge!”
“But I’m not really thinking of anyone, anything can happen to be honest. I’m sure that, with a three-round fight, people are going to be coming out with all guns blazing. There’s going to be cuts, there’s going to be stoppages, and you really wouldn’t know who’s going to make the final.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)