Boxing: All or nothing as Brian Magee prepares to face Dimitri Sartison
Everything is on the line for Brian Magee in Dublin's National Stadium tomorrow night.
Magee steps into the ring with at stake, his European super-middleweight title, a world title opportunity and at 35-years of age, arguably his career.
It has been a long road for the Belfast man to get to this point, with that stunning victory over Mads Larsen in January to win the European title, coming as it was, at the start of his 11th year as a professional.
Not only did the Larsen success boost his bank balance considerably, it clearly gave Magee a deeper belief that he can reach the summit of world boxing and as the number one challenger, Germany’s WBA super-middleweight champion Dimitri Sartison is firmly in his sights.
It has certainly been the stereotypical blood, sweat and tears boxing career for Magee who defends his belt against Armenia's Roman Aramian tomorrow night.
The days when he topped the King's Hall in defence of his IBO title seem a world away, as do defeats to former WBC champion Carl Froch and European champion Vitali Tysypko.
The desire to fulfil his potential never diminished and neither did the manic work ethic required to stay at the top of the toughest sport of all.
“I think Muhammad Ali once said that if he had put as much effort into his schoolwork as he had put into boxing, he would have been an astronaut or something like that.
“The dedication required is not normal, it's not a normal life and I don't think people understand that,” said Magee.
“You miss out on a lot and that is the sacrifice to be paid — I know this; when I stop boxing, there'll be no comeback.
“When I'm done, I'm done and that's why I'm working on options away from the ring.
“Maybe if I had put all this effort into my studies at school I could be working for NASA! But this is the choice you make as a boxer, as any sportsman or woman does.
“Because I know there is a world title fight after this, if all goes to plan, I know how big this is and I have to do whatever it takes to win.
“It's not going to be easy because Aramian's record shows that he has only ever lost to top quality guys. I just have to make sure that I do all things we have been working on in the gym.”
The supporting bill tomorrow night features Bernard Dunne’s conqueror Kiko Martinez in a European super-bantamweight title fight with another Armenian, Arsen Martirosyan.
Should Martinez win he is likely to defend the title against Dubliner Paulie Hyland.
Meanwhile, purse bids for Martin Lindsay's mandatory British featherweight title defence with Stephen Smith were called off as the Commonwealth champion has an injury and wouldn't be ready to fight by the end of November.
Lindsay, who boxes in Nottingham tomorrow night in an eight rounder, is now expected to have a voluntary against John Simpson — the man from whom Smith won the Commonwealth belt.