Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Boxing: I’m fired up to take on the world, says Paul McCloskey

Paul McCloskey knows a window of opportunity in boxing is only open for so long and he has now crossed the starting line.

Unbeaten, ranked four by the World Boxing Council and a European light-welterweight belt tucked away in his Dungiven home, it would be abnormal if McCloskey was not thinking about how and when his world title opportunity will unfold.

It is not an easy path to one of the major world titles as the ten stone division just happens to be one of the hottest around.

But McCloskey believes the picture can become clearer when the WBC/IBF champion Devon Alexander clashed with WBO champion Timothy Bradley in January. The two men are seen as the best in the division, though WBA champion Amir Khan may have something to say about that.

McCloskey, ten days away from the second defence of his European light-welterweight title against Scotland's Barry Morrison in Letterkenny, is certain that given the opportunity he can fulfil his dream and gatecrash multi-million dollar 10st party.

“I would say that Devon Alexander is probably seen as the number on the division but after his unification title fight with Timothy Bradley I can't see him hanging onto all the belts so you would think that an opportunity would arise,” says McCloskey, who while musing over what might be is adamant that he will not be taking Morrison lightly.

“Morrison is the job I have to do now but everything going to plan after this I want a fight that will take me to the brink of a world title or straight away into a world title. I'm ready for any of those guys right now, I'm ready for the best in the world because I know I'll give any of them a hard night.

“But you know all I can do is the business in the ring and that's what I've always said and so far I've delivered on my part of the bargain.

“I'm not stupid, I know it's not easy to get a world title fight but I'm now number four in the WBC and I would hope that Barry Hearn will be able to get me a world title shot.

“We had a chat with his man John Wischhusen after the last fight and we'll have another one to see how I can get into the world title picture. But you know first I have to take care of Morrison and I expect him to be tough and hungry.”

Brian Peters, who is promoting the Letterkenny bill, believes it will not be easy for McCloskey to secure a world title attempt such is the quality in the division.

Peters said: “There is almost like a golden circle in the light-welterweights with Devon Alexander, Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan all looking for big fights with each other so it is going to be hard but I would think the way for Paul to get his crack at a world title is to become the number one contender.”

While McCloskey dreams of his world title opportunity, Cavan’s unbeaten lightweight Andy Murray aims to take another step towards a European title shot when he boxes Johnny Nolasco of the Dominican Republic on the Letterkenny supporting bill in a ten rounder.

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