Belfast Telegraph

2010 is make or break for Duddy’s title hopes

By David Kelly

Walking through the streets of New York to the iconic Gleason's Gym, John Duddy knows that 2010 is a make or break year for his career.

The previous 12 months were highly forgettable having suffered his first defeat and come out the other side of a legal battle with his former management team, though on the personal side of things he had the high of marriage to long time girlfriend Grainne.

Having won in October on his return to the ring after that shock loss to Billy Lyell, Duddy seems more at peace with the world and his future than he has for some time.

Tomorrow night he is back at Madison Square Garden, where he made his name as a gun-slinging, blue collar hero in the Big Apple, in need of an impressive victory over Mexican Juan Astorga on the supporting bill to a double world title show.

Having teamed up with coach Harry Keitt, his original trainer when he arrived in the States, Duddy is enjoying the daily grind which is vital for him to once again become a world title contender.

“I'm settled in New York again, I'm living in Queens and back at Gleason's which is great for me. The atmosphere is very special there,” said Duddy.

“Working with Harry works well with me. Patrick Burns was a good coach but I was going to North Carolina, going to Miami and it was becoming too much. Now there's no stress and I feel that I can maximise everything I bring to the ring now I'm in New York.

“I was pleased with my last training camp and the fight went well and I haven't taken my foot off the pedal. I think it could be a very exciting year and I can't wait to get in the ring on Saturday night.”

Duddy's world title ambitions were rocked last year when he lost to outsider Lyell but he is confident that it was merely a blip on the way to a showdown with one of the major world champions by the end of the year.

One fight which continues to be mooted is a clash with Irish light-middleweight champion Neil Sinclair and it is understood that negotiations are at a crucial stage.

“I think any fight at home would be very exciting for me because it's been a while since I boxed there but you know there has been talk about a lot of fights such as the Julio Cesar Chavez fight but now he has his own problems and that's off,” added Duddy, whose business interests are looked after by American Craig Hamilton.

“Craig keeps me up to date with what's happening so I'm able to focus on the boxing and that is a help. I really don't care who I fight, I just want to fulfil my potential.”

Meanwhile, Martin Lindsay's British featherweight title defence against Jamie Arthur on March 19 will be staged at the Indoor Sports Arena in Leigh, Manchester.

Lisburn heavyweight Scott Belshaw faces Larry Olubamiwo at the Brentwood Centre in Essex tonight.

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