Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Boxing: Duddy focused on Euro dream

John Duddy takes his next step towards a shot at the European middleweight title on October 20 in Dublin.

It was thought the unbeaten Derry star would be making his debut at the King's Hall but promoter Brian Peters has instead chosen to place him on another bill in the National Stadium.

But Peters and Duddy's manager Eddie McLoughlin remain determined to bring a European title bid to Belfast.

Peters said: "I looked at Belfast but I just felt that the timing wasn't just right. This show has had to be put together at a little too short notice for what I would have liked for a show in Belfast.

"Obviously the King's Hall is the place where John wants to box and where we would like to put him on and it will happen and a chance at the European title would be the obvious fight to put on in the King's Hall.

" So we're going again in the Stadium and John will have another good opponent, a good test that will hopefully take him a step further towards a European title shot. He got a great reception in Dublin the last time because most of the crowd had travelled down from Derry and I'm sure that they'll do the same again."

The show will also feature Duddy's long-time friend and fellow rising star Paul McCloskey who is coming off to very good wins over Argentina's Ivan Bustos and Italian Alfredo Di Feto.

McCloskey's coach and manager John Breen said: "The last time Paul fought on the supporting bill to Duddy he stole the show with his stoppage of Bustos and then he followed that up with the win over Di Feto. He's really on a roll. They're talking about a European title for Duddy but I don't think Paul is that far away from it either."

Having notched up an unbeaten record of 21 victories along with substantial support on both sides of the Atlantic, many are eagerly wanting to see Duddy truly tested in a major title fight. Duddy, though, is not one for getting carried away with the hyperbole surrounding him and is anticipating the National Stadium in Dublin as another step along the learning curve that he is happy to travel.

He returns to the scene where he won on his debut on Irish soil as a professional in July when enjoying a final round stoppage of Alessio Furlan.

The New York based Derry man said: "Everyone wants to know about the future and talk about European titles and World titles but I never give it a second thought because I always need to stay fed on the job at hand and for me that's October 20th at the National Stadium.

"I'm in a great position now because there are avenues open to me on both sides of the Atlantic. I've a good team behind me with the McLoughlin brothers so we're definitely moving in the right direction.

"I don't need to be told that I have a lot still to learn and I've only been working a short time with my coach Don Turner. I just want to bide my time and be ready to not only win titles but keep them and defend them for some time.

"I'm delighted that we made the decision to come home for my last fight and I'm already looking forward to this next one.

"Fighting in New York is something special and for a guy from Derry to headline at Madison Square Garden is amazing but at the end of the day it's just not home. I can't enjoy the crowd until I've done the business in the ring but as soon as the referee stopped the last fight at the Stadium I turned and looked out into crowd and it was amazing.

"Everyone was going nuts and it's just an incredible feeling. I fought at the Stadium so many times as an amateur but that was something else and I have to take my hat off to everyone who came out to support me. Hopefully they'll all be back on October 20th."

Duddy is expected to box a ten rounder against someone from Europe's top 15. Unbeaten Dungiven man McCloskey is also expected to be facing European opposition and he is adamant that he is ready for a British or European light-welterweight title fight.

"I want to be let off the leash. I know that I'm coming to a peak and I'm ready for the big boys," said McCloskey.

Lurgan's unbeaten Stephen Haughian will also return to action and is expected to have his first fight at welterweight.

Former British light-middleweight title challenger Matthew Macklin will also feature and he is seen as a possible opponent down the line for Duddy. Tickets for the " Celtic Tigers" show are priced from €50 and will be available from Ticketmaster.ie.

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