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Boxing: McCloskey moving up in the world

By David Kelly

Paul McCloskey will be fighting for European and World titles in 2008, according to manager John Breen.

The light-welterweight has been matched with Olympic silver medallist and former European champion Tontcho Tontchev at the Kings Hall on December 8 and Breen believes this will be a significant step towards a showdown with British and European champion Colin Lynes.

Tontchev, a former WBU lightweight champion, boxed for the European lightweight crown in April but lost to the hard hitting Yuri Romanov in three rounds.

Now he is campaigning at light-welter and hoping to revive his career but Breen believes McCloskey can push the Bulgarian closer to retirement.

McCloskey-Tontchev will be the main supporting contest to John Duddy's big showdown with Howard Eastman on the bill which promoter Brian Peters calls " The Only Show in Town".

McCloskey manager Breen is expecting the Dungiven man to show his class once more following a disappointing display despite victory over Dariusz Snarksi last month in Dublin.

" I've always said that the better the opponent, the better Paul boxes and against Snarski you could see that he couldn't get up for him. He was just a late substitute opponent and Paul seemed to go down to his level," said Breen.

"Now he's highly motivated again and I believe that after this 12-rounder he'll be boxing for the European and a world title in 2008.

"And he has the class to win a world title. There's an awful lot more to come from Paul McCloskey."

Meanwhile, Tontchev is returning to Belfast seven years on from defeating Charles Sheppard in the Waterfront Hall.

A national hero in Bulgaria having been one of their greatest amateurs, Tontchev lost out on points to legend Oscar De La Hoya at the 1992 Olympics.

Four years later he won a silver medal at the Atlanta Games and also bagged a European gold medal as an amateur.

"McCloskey might be a good up and coming fighter but his team have made a serious mistake agreeing to fight me," says Tontchev.

"It is far too early for McCloskey to be fighting someone with my experience, power and ability and I'm sorry for all his fans but I will be leaving Belfast with the belt.

"It won't be the first time a promoter has made this mistake. Last year Frank Maloney made a costly mistake when he brought me to London to fight Dean Phillips.

"He was expecting big things from him but I knocked him out cold in the first round."

Tickets for the December 8 show are said to be moving swiftly but remain available at

Meanwhile, super-featherweight Kevin O'Hara will finally return to the ring on November 30 in London.

The Belfast man will have an eight-rounder against Henry Castle and victory may lead to a shot at the winner of the mouthwatering British super-featherweight title clash between Carl Johannsen and Kevin Mitchell in January.

Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was sentenced to 24 hours in jail and three years probation yesterday for drug possession and driving under the influence.

The court in Mesa, Arizona, heard Tyson pleaded guilty in September to charges arising from an incident last year when he was stopped in his BMW after leaving a nightclub.

Belfast Telegraph

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