On the verge

30 March 2009 – By Cormac Campbell

There has been something understated about the pro career of former amateur standout Martin Lindsay to date.

Boxing on the road in Britain, Italy and Canada may have secured an IBF Youth World Title and a British No 1 contender ranking but having contested just four bouts of an unbeaten 13 on home soil, 26-year-old Lindsay has been denied the mainstream kudous his gifts and performances so richly deserve. Good things come to those who wait and victory over British featherweight champion Paul Appleby at the Ulster Hall on April 25 would make all the waiting and travelling well worth it.

Not that victory is any way assured. After all, Appleby is a phenomenal talent. Himself unbeaten, the Scotsman appears to have the ability to go far on the international and maybe even world stage. A fact that makes the very happening of Lindsay v Appleby all the more mouthwatering.

This is the type of throwback fight that doesnt seem to happen any more. A year down the line it is not inconceivable that both boxers could be contesting greater honours in a bigger arena. Yet for the second fight on the spin, the Mac man has taken an unnecessary risk to get where he wants to go.

When I first went to meet David Haye I told him I wanted to move quickly and take the big fights, Lindsay told irish-boxing.com.

Having signed a deal with Hayes burgeoning Hayemaker Promotions company, Lindsay didnt have to wait long for a major contest with a British title eliminator against former WBU champion Derry Matthews in Sheffield in September 2008. Behind on points and having picked himself off the floor, the Belfast native landed the sweetest of left hooks to KO the Liverpudlian in the ninth round.

In addition to being named Prospect of the Year at the Irish-boxing.com National Boxing Awards in January, Lindsays reward was a clash with Scotsman Appleby on home soil.

I fought well down the undercard of John Duddys fight with Howard Eastman a couple of years back at the Kings Hall and that was great, so it will be great to top the bill in my hometown.

Its just another four weeks now and Im really starting to look forward to the night.

So too are Belfasts boxing community. Ticket sales are reportedly brisk for the contest and indeed Lindsays front door and mobile phone are subjected to regular ticket requests throughout the course of our interview.

That the bout takes place in the newly refurbished Ulster Hall a venue that only days prior will stage the Ulster Senior Amateur championship finals reinforces the sentiment that this is a fight for the true fans of the sport.

If I had been released all the tickets I think I would have sold the lot myself, beamed Lindsay whilst taking a break between training sessions.

But obviously he is the champion so he will have a few hundred coming over with him as well.

Knowing that he will have the backing of a capacity crowd is something that understandably delights the University graduate and as a venue, Lindsay has no complaints with the Ulster Hall.

I havent fought there since the Ulster Seniors in 2004, so it will be great to be back, I won three senior titles there, he enthused.

Hoping to derail Lindsay is unbeaten Appleby. Aged just 21-years, Appleby has done enough in 14 paid starts, including British title victories over John Simpson and Esham Pickering, to convince many that he is good enough to be a force on the World stage. As such, the home fighter is a heavy betting underdog.

My last fight I went to as a big underdog so Im used to that position, he reasoned.

I earned my shot at this title. I came through the eliminator for it.

Lindsays preparations appear to be well and truly on track. Fully recovered from a rib injury that put the Setanta Sports televised fight back by a month, the West Belfast native is now undergoing the business end of preparations under the guidance of Immaculata ABC coach Nugget Nugent.

The injury has healed up. My weight is good and everything is fine. Im sparring away according to plan. Most of my heavy sessions are during the day and the morning session because my coach looks after the amateur end of the club at night so in the evening Im looking after my weight and doing bags things I can look after on my own.

During the day I do the fitness programme. I dont study the tapes but Nugget does and he comes up with the game plan.

Victory would see Lindsay make the leap into a bona fide Kings Hall headliner and European title contender as such much rests on the result of April 25. However, there is little point in talking about what comes after Appleby. For this is a contest so finely in the balance that anyone gambling on its outcome is doing so from the heart rather than the head. Quite simply this is one of the most promising British title fights staged in recent years, something Lindsay appears aware of.

When you are up at this level there is pressure on everybody. There is pressure on me, there is pressure on him all we can do is prepare well and go in there and do what we can do and put on a good show for everyone there on the night.

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