04 November 2009 – By Alex McGreevy
The controversial eighth round of Martin Rogans first defence of the Commonwealth heavyweight belt will be a distant memory come the dawn after Fridays re-match at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast – according to the challenger.
Rogan was forced to surrender the title to Sexton on doctors orders after the fight was stopped with the champ suffering a swollen eye injury.
The Commonwealth Boxing Council ordered an immediate re-match and Rogan is adamant any stoppage this time around will be in his favour.
Since their first meeting the pair have had heated discussions at press events – and it wasnt for show.
“This time hes fighting a guy with two eyes and a clear focus,” said Rogan.
“Hes going to encounter a different Martin Rogan – a better man and a better prepared fighter. The temporary champion is coming to Belfast and Belfast is waiting for him.”
Sextons trainer, the vastly experienced Graham Everett, thinks otherwise.
He said: “The shock element has gone – the experience has been experienced and theres nothing Belfast or Martin Rogan can do to unsettle Sam this time around.
“He will show why he is the champion and he will put this matter to bed. The last time around Sam lapsed and gave Rogan an opportunity to hit back. Rogan was up against it then – he knew that eighth round was going to be his last and he had to go for it.
“That wont be the case this time. We have been there and done it and we will do it again on Friday.”
Everett claims 25-year-old Sexton received some helpful advice from ex-Commonwealth and IBO heavyweight champ Darren Corbett, his sparring partner for the previous fight and this one.
“Darren knows Rogan and Belfast and was able to offer some very useful advice. He is a gentleman boxer and we are glad to have worked with him. He showed in sparring that he still has it and he should get back in the ring. Hes the best heavyweight in Ireland in my opinion.”