15 June 2010 – By Leonard Gunning
Ballinrobe boxer Michael Sweeney feels frozen out of a shot at an Irish title which he considers is rightfully his following victories over Jamie Power and Tommy Tolan.
Hungry for baubles, Sweeney saw his first opportunity to accumulate an inaugural title slip through his fingers when one most highly anticipated Irish title fights of recent years, against Dubliner Ian Tims, was cancelled just days before the duo were to square up on the Andy Lee-Mamadou Thiam undercard last month in Limerick.
The Storm was hoping to breeze into a slot on the Dolphil promotion at the CityWesy Hotel, Dublin on August 7 and as current Irish light-heavyweight champion John Waldron was already listed on the card and without an opponent, Sweeney called Don OLeary to gauge his appetite for hosting a showdown for the title which Waldron snatched from under Jamie Powers nose in front of the Limerickmans home crowd.
I rang up Don (OLeary, the Dol in DolPhil) to see if I could get my shot at the Irish title against John Waldron. Don said he couldnt put me on because the card was full and it wasnt making sense to have that fight (between two Mayomen) in Dublin. To his credit he said he could fit me on to a card in September or October but thats not really any good to me because I need to keep the momentum going, explained Sweeney.
Not to be deterred the businessman in Sweeney emerged. Then I promised to guarantee ticket sales and fight for half the price of what John got for his title fight. I even said I would agree to a winner takes all arrangement.
I was number one contender for the light-heavyweight title and I moved aside to let Power and Waldron go at it and now where do I stand? I know John and I think I am a better fighter although he has the title I am the best light-heavyweight in the country. John fought well to win the belt in Limerick but I had him (Power) down quick and finished it early, John took 10 rounds to take a win on points. I am not blaming John I just want to move on with my career stated the frustrated Sweeney.
The Steve Egan trained fighter went on to say, If John feels he can hold the Irish title for six months or six years without defending it then he is wrong and that doesnt make sense to me anyway. Even though I beat Jamie Power and was supposed to be the next man (Brian) Peters said it didnt make sense for me to fight Waldron in Limerick which is fair enough because they wanted him in front of his own crowd but where am I left.
Sweeney also returned to one of his favourite subjects – Ian Tims. Ill even fight Ian Tims in Dublin on that (DolPhil) card for the cruiserweight title and tickets dont go on sales until June 21 so there is plenty of time to sort something out.
As is his tradition, Sweeney was keen to leave any Irish fighter from the super middleweight to cruiserweight division in no doubt of his future intentions by delivering the following invite: I want the light heavyweight title so I can then move on to an EU title, John isnt refusing the fight, that wouldnt be him, but Don should allow the fight to go ahead and I really hope he does. I am roaring for anyone in Ireland to fight from super middle to cruiser is anyone coming out to fight?