Spring return for McCloskey

13 January 2010 – By Cormac Campbell

European light-welterweight champion Paul McCloskey has told irish-boxing.com that he will make the first defence of his title before the end of April.

Its looking like March or April which is good, because obviously we are just after party season and even though I didnt do a lot of partying I ate a fair bit of turkey! he joked.

I couldnt get to Belfast a couple of days last week and a couple of days this week because of the weather. It has been a bit of a restriction but were working through it. But either way, if I cant make it to Belfast I will train at home. You just have to make the best of it.

March and April is only two or three months away and that is the sort of time you are looking for to prepare for a title fight. I should know in the next couple of weeks but it will definitely be before the end of April.

Although no opponent has yet been named, McCloskey said he would be hopeful a match with the experienced Giuseppe Lauri can be made.

There have been a few good names mentioned possibly Giuseppe Lauri but nothing has been confirmed yet. Ive watched him and he is a hard, hard nut. When MBaye pulled out last time out he was mentioned, but I think he was sick at the time so didnt want the fight. Hopefully he will have time to prepare properly. But again until things are confirmed I dont know.

The venue for the contest looks set to be Belfasts Kings Hall a prospect 30-year-old McCloskey is keen on.

The Kings Hall would be great, he enthused.

There is a lot of history there. I fought there before on the undercard of John Duddy vs Howard Eastman and there was a great atmosphere. We know all about the Barry McGuigan and Dave Boy McAuley nights and more recently Eamonn and Brian Magee boxing there so obviously Id like to be a part of that.

I would like to go back to Magherafelt (where he won the title in November by stopping Spaniard Daniel Rasilla) because it is so close to home but I cant call all the shots – so if not this time maybe next time?

McCloskey, who in November sold in excess of 3,000 tickets for his vacant title challenge, is happy that his career is moving towards the biggest prize in the sport.

Ive been a pro five years but everywhere I go now people seem to recognise me especially at home. People are coming into the shop from different towns and counties to ask when I will be fighting again which is great. I must be causing the right kind of stir.

If I do two or three good defences and I cant get a World title shot then there must be something badly wrong. Im talking about defences, but Id be foolish to look past my next fight. I have to win fights and also win them in style to climb the rankings. But I am being recognised in the World rankings now so if I keep winning it should come.

The Derryman believes that the continued successes of his fellow Irish professionals is proving beneficial to his own career.

There is a good positive energy around the sport at the minute and we are all feeding off that, he admitted.

As well as established guys there are a lot of up and coming Irish fighters at the minute. Obviously Martin Lindsay is already British champion but I think is able to move on to the next level.

From our own gym I think Kevin OHara can claim a title this year and Stephen Haughian and Andy Murray as well. Further down the country the Hyland lads are coming along nicely. There are others as well ready to climb the ladder.

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