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Phil Sutcliffe Jr reveals he accepted a comeback fight versus Darragh Foley

Over a year on from his last fight, Phil Sutcliffe Jr [15(9)-2(1)] was finally back in the ring on Friday night but it could have been a much bigger fight than a four-rounder versus a journeyman.

The Crumlin light welter has had a nightmare 2018, twice having to pull out of a fight with Tyrone McKenna, first via a knee injury and then following a road traffic accident which left him “lucky to be alive.”

The determined Dub made his long-awaited return on the ‘King of the Celts’ card at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast where he scored a controlled points win over Eligio Palacias.

It was a rust-shaking exercise for Sutcliffe but he revealed afterwards that he accepted a fight with world-rated Dublin rival Darragh Foley [15(8)-2(0)-1].

‘Succo’ told IFL that “do you know what? I was offered the Darragh Foley fight for the first fight back and of course I said yes.”

“I was offered it ten weeks ago and I said ‘yeah, of course, no problem, let me know’.”

However, Foley seemingly turned the fight down and Sutcliffe understands.

“Obviously, with Darragh, all respect to him, why would he fight me, I’m only back off an injury. I’ve nothing to offer him.”

Blanchardstown’s Foley is currently in camp in Boston ahead of a fight next weekend in London with Akeem Ennis-Brown, a fight he would have accepted after the Sutcliffe offer, stepping in to replace Johnny Coyle on the BoxNation card at the York Hall.

The Sydney-based Foley called out Sutcliffe back in 2016 when he took umbrage with his rival claiming that no Irish fighter wanted to face him. ‘Super Foley’ told Irish-Boxing.com that “I saw him say a while back that no Irishman will fight him… don’t disrespect me like that, whilst I’m alive I’ll fight any fucking man on this planet.”

READ: Darragh Foley calls out Phil Sutcliffe Jr

In terms of his own comeback fight, Sutcliffe said that “it was good to get in there. It’s been a while, too long if I’m being honest. It was good to get the four rounds in, I enjoyed the four rounds.”

“I was a bit rusty but, look, we’ll get rid of that. We’ve a long time to work on over Christmas, get back to the basics and get things right again,” noted the fighter who has teamed up with Pete Taylor.

The 29-year-old EU bronze medallist wants to get the mental side of things right before progressing in the new year where he will be looking for big fights against the likes of Foley and McKenna.

Sutcliffe described how “I’ve had a pretty bad lay-off this year due to my injuries and, look, I’ll perform a lot better when I’ve got a little bit more headspace.”

“I need to get the head right again but it’s coming.”

“It’s going to take a little bit of time. It’s been a mental struggle and I had been in against a different opponent but he pulled out. These things happen in boxing. It’s more the headspace with me, once I get that sorted then I’m good to go.”

“I know I’ve been out for so long and I know I’m jumping way ahead of the gun but I want 2019 to be a big year for me. I don’t want to sit behind again, it’s been a hard year.”


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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