Belfast Telegraph

Monday 14 July 2014

Breen left stunned as McCloskey texts split

Paul McCloskey and coach John Breen after one of many successful nights

John Breen and Paul McCloskey’s eight-year partnership has come to an end, leaving the experienced coach bewildered.

Breen revealed that he was informed by a text from the former European light-welterweight champion that he would no longer be coaching him.

The Co Londonderry boxer signed with Breen as manager and coach in 2004 and was honed and guided to British, European and most recently WBA inter-continental titles. Though after his British title success, McCloskey’s father-in-law Francie McNicholl looked after the business side of things with Breen’s role reduced to just coaching, ably assisted by former Commonwealth champion Eamonn Magee.

Slick Southpaw McCloskey also lost in a WBA World title fight with Amir Khan last year before going on to have his best victory in September 2011, a nailbiting brawl with Colombian Breidis Prescott at the Odyssey Arena.

He then bounced back from a shock defeat to veteran American Demarcus Corley by defeating Manuel Perez on points for the WBA inter-continental title. It is understood that the reason for the split was largely down to an issue concerning preparation for the Perez fight which was at the Odyssey Arena in September.

Breen, the most successful Irish professional coach in history, says he is saddened by the split after so many years of success together.

Breen said: “I’m very disappointed that it has come to this point and I can’t really understand it but I wish Paul all the very best for the future.

“As with all my fighters I felt that I did my very best for Paul and I think his record shows that I did a pretty good job taking him from the amateur ranks and turning him into a professional.

“We seemed to work well together. Paul was a very good amateur and we got his style to adapt to the pros.

“I got a text saying that he feels that he has to move on and get another coach which I don’t really understand but that’s up to him.

“I really don’t think I could have done more. I felt I got the best out of Paul.

“We had some very good nights together, he won the British and European titles and only for the referee stepping in against Amir Khan I still believe he could have beaten Khan that night in Manchester last year and become world champion but it wasn’t meant to be.

“I wish him all the very best, it’s a tough sport and I hope he makes the right decisions for his future.”

McCloskey is expected to return to the ring on February 2 on the supporting bill to Carl Frampton’s next big night at the Odyssey Arena, which will be against Kiko Martinez for the European title.

Meanwhile, a British team will take part in the World Series of Boxing for the first time in the tournament's brief history and Ireland’s John Joe Nevin will be part of it.

Olympic silver medallist Nevin appears to have turned his back on professional boxing after signing up for the new British Lionhearts team.

Nevin looked set to end his amateur days last month when he announced he was joining Amir Khan's professional stable.

However, it is understood that the Mullingar boxer did not sign a contract with Khan.

The British Lionhearts features a number of boxers looking to be part of Team GB for the Rio Olympics in 2016 with middleweight Fred Evans, who won a silver in London also in the team.

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