By Jonny Stapleton
Martin Rogan is adamant he will make Irish boxing history in the Odyssey Arena on October 27 by becoming the first Irish born heavyweight champion of the world, despite the fact he is fighting for a lesser know world title.
‘The Entertainer’ will challenge Panama’s Andres Pineda for the WBU’s version of the world title and claims he will prove he and not ‘want to be Ulster man’ Tyson Fury is the biggest of the Irish big men.
At 40 some had suggested the veteran fighter had one foot in the boxing grave and was about to announce retirement yesterday, but unlike Victor Meldrew who is famed for saying ‘I don’t believe it’ Rogan cried ‘you better believe it’.
“I am going to become the first Irish heavyweight champion born and bred on this wonderful Island. You better believe it. I am going to create a piece of sporting history and people can say they watched it being made in Belfast the fight capital of the world. As far as I am aware this is the first ever Heavyweight world title fight in Belfast, ” an excited Rogan said in the Balmoral Hotel yesterday about the JRL Promoted show.
If we are honest the WBU title is one of the lesser know belts. It has been dormant for nigh on six years now and doesn’t hold the same prestige as the IBF, WBO, WBA or WBC titles. However the ‘Iron Man’ isn’t concerned with what three letters proceed world champion.
Boxing legend George Foreman once held WBU strap and fighters such as Ricky Hatton, Mickey Ward, Enzo Maccarinelli and Johnny Nelson were all champions of the lesser known belt.
And Rogan, who claims he was head hunted by the WBU to raise the profile of the strap, was singing of the ‘if its good enough for them it is good enough for me’ hymn sheet yesterday.
“I was picked by the WBU to revive this belt. They know I have what it takes to bring this belt out of the dark and into the light. Its not one of the bigger belts but it is a world title. I don’t make the belts. I just go along with the rules laid out by the board. All I know is I have been given the chance to fight for a world title. Our friends across the water like Ricky Hatton and Shane Newry as well as others have fought for this belt. If it is good enough for fighters like that its good enough for me.”
If Belfast’s most famous cabbie does deliver success in the third massive card to come to Belfast in under two months he is promising to bring one the Klitschkos to town.
The former Commonwealth champion and inaugural Prizefighter winner stressed if he does as planned make the WBU a prestigious crown the Klitschko bothers can no longer lay claim to holding all the heavyweight world titles.
“I am hoping this does lead to one of the other belts and a shot at a Klitschko. Why not? The WBU is a recognised title in world championship boxing it will put me in the equation, big time. On the night of October 27 when I am Ireland’s first real heavyweight champion I will be calling Vitali and Wladmir to tell them they no longer own all the heavyweight titles.”