He didn’t quite ride into town guns blazing and shooting from the mouth like the original ‘Duke,’ John Wayne, but Luke ‘The Duke’ Watkins has signaled his intentions to fight for an Irish title.
The Swindon cruiserweight, who makes his Irish debut on the ‘Time is Now fight bill in Derry on Saturday night, becomes a welcome addition to a domestic division that is growing in numbers and certainly fan appeal as since Tommy McCarthy turned over.
Indeed, the 25 year old, undefeated fighter who is of Taghmon, Wexford stock, tried to secure an domestic showdown with both Ian Tims and Michael Sweeney for Saturday, but to no avail.
The time might not be now in this case, but ‘The Duke’, who debuted over six rounds and having fought eight in his last fight is eligible for challenge for belt title last won by Tims against Sweeney in 2011, still has Irish title ambitions and is keen to fight for the strap when the chance arises.
“I have been cleared by the BUI to box for Irish title. It’s always been on my list of targets to fight for the belt and when I do It will be a honour,” Walkins told Irish-boxing.com.
“I haven’t set my sights on anyone in particular, my coach and management know who’s and what’s best for me so they decide,” he added before expressing his delight at being in Derry.
“I am very excited to be here to fight in front of the Derry boxing fans. I went to a charity boxing show at the weekend and for a small crowd they were such a lively bunch. I hope they bring the same to the Lavey center come Saturday”.
Watkins has been working alongside bill topper Eamonn O’Kane ahead Saturday’s fight night and he revealed the homecoming has inspired the World title hopeful throughout camp.
“Eamonn has looked ferocious in camp. It means so much for him to be fighting at home and I’m just glad I can be part of his home coming show. It has definitely given him the extra push and determination for this fight.”