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Boxing: 'Villain' Mayweather now a role model for McCloskey

By David Kelly

Published 18/10/2007

Paul McCloskey is on the rise and says the world's best fighter Floyd Mayweather has something to do with it.

McCloskey is the frontrunner to be the next Irish fighter moving into championship contention after two impressive victories in the summer.

The unbeaten Dungiven man returns to the ring on Saturday night, hoping it is the final stepping stone before a title fight and believes he can learn from Mayweather on the way to the top.

"Mayweather is an unbelievable fighter. He has all the moves. I'm a slippery boxer myself so I know I can learn from him," said McCloskey, who believes Mayweather is favourite to inflict the first defeat on Ricky Hatton at the end of the year.

"It's not that you totally copy him, but you see the moves, see how he avoids the punches, how he controls the fights and it's that kind of stuff that I learn from.

"Some people don't like him because of the way he gets on outside the ring. I think he has shown a lack of respect to Ricky Hatton, but he just seems to like playing the villain.

"You have to say that when it comes to the ring he's the best in the world pound for pound and what people don't seem to realise is that not only is he a great boxer, but he's very strong as well.

"He has shown his strength with the way he has moved up through the weights and winning world titles and in the fight with Hatton I think he has to be the favourite."

As for his own career, McCloskey is delighted that Irish promoter Brian Peters has handed him regular fights, though he has been left bitterly disappointed by the withdrawal of Hungarian Laszlo Komjathi, who went the distance with Amir Khan in the King's Hall 18 months ago.

"It's a shame because Komjathi would have been a good test and I could have shown people how good I am," said McCloskey.

"I would have been happy with them to make comparisons with Khan because I would have been confident of doing a better job.

"Whoever it is I'll treat him with respect and do the business - then I want a title fight. I feel I'm ready."

Meanwhile, Irish lightweight Katie Taylor advanced to the semi-finals of the women's European Championships following a stunning first round knock out of Spain's Maria de la Guia Guerra in Vejle Denmark.

The defending champion dropped the 6ft tall Spaniard with a left hook after just 30 seconds and her opponent was counted out.

Taylor, the reigning World 60Kg champion as well, is targeting her third European title in a row. The 21-year old-will now meet Yana Zavyalova from the Ukraine in today's semi-final.

Belfast Telegraph

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