Ulster boxing star John Duddy is swapping one ring for another as he ties the knot with his long-term sweetheart this weekend.
Derryman Duddy will marry his fiancée Grainne Coll tomorrow at a small ceremony in the Beech Hill hotel in the Waterside.
The New York-based fighter and Grainne, from the Prehen area of the city, have been together for 10 years but have had trouble setting a date for the big day due to the sportsman's punishing schedule.
The pair, who have bought a house in Burnfoot, faced added difficulties when Grainne's application for an American visa was turned down.
However, the couple's honeymoon, which is rumoured to be a trip around the Emerald Isle, will not be a long one as the WBO world-rated number nine is expected back in the USA for training ahead of his upcoming fight on October 10 at Madison Square Garden, where he has never lost.
Duddy's father Mickey said the couple had found it hard to pin down a time for their much-anticipated nuptials.
“It's been difficult for them to get a date organised with John |always away fighting so it's just brilliant for them to be finally tying the knot,” he said.
“The wedding is going to be a small, intimate affair with just the two immediate families present. John would hate for it to be a high-profile do.”
And he added that he hoped that as John's wife, Grainne may end up being allowed to live and work in America.
“It's been hard for them in recent years, especially with Grainne having her visa refused for the States.
“While it's no guarantee that the wedding will help the matter, they are hoping that her visa will be looked upon differently once they are husband and wife.”
Duddy is expected to square up opposite Mexican Jorge (Michi) Munoz in a 10-round bout that could see him go on to face Julio Cesar Chavez Jr next year.
This will be Duddy's eighth professional fight at Madison Square Garden where he won a 10-round unanimous decision over Matt Vanda in February.
The former WBC Continental Americas middleweight champion who holds a record of 26 wins, 17 by knockout and one loss, has previously scored victories over former world champion Yory Boy Campas and world title challenger Howard Eastman.
This will be his first return to the ring since suffering a split decision loss to Billy Lyell in April and finally cutting free of Irish Ropes Management.