When Darren Corbett was in his prime, blasting out Chris Okoh to win the Commonwealth cruiserweight title in 1997, Conall Carmichael was roaring him on in the Waterfront Hall. On Saturday night they will be trading blows.
Corbett may have turned 40 in July but the Belfast man says he is up for his last chance saloon fight with unbeaten prospect Carmichael on the supporting bill to Tyson Fury’s heavyweight showdown with Kevin Johnson.
While Carmichael’s natural fighting weight is cruiserweight, this will be well over the limit as Corbett, who lost on points to Michael Sweeney in April, says he is still chasing a battle with Martin Rogan.
“I was sparring Tyson Fury six rounds a day and giving him hell before he fought Rogan. I’ve asked for the Rogan fight but he doesn’t want it. If I win on Saturday night then I’ll be calling for it again — the Belfast public would love to see it,” said Corbett.
“My licence runs out in April and I’ll not be renewing it. Time is not on my side but I’m still going to give it everything. Conall’s a good kid and I suppose he thinks I’m past it but I know I can still bang.”
Unbeaten World heavyweight prospect Fury agrees, saying: “Darren gave me great sparring, he never backed off and if he was to catch Rogan or anyone with one of those right hands he can put them to sleep.”
Fellow Belfast man Carmichael is hoping a win over the Raging Bull will set him up for an exciting 2013.
“I remember when Darren beat Okoh, that was a great night — he blew him away and the atmosphere was great that night, I was there with my dad. Now I have to go and beat him,” said Carmichael.
“I won’t be taking him lightly, everybody knows that Darren can punch, but I’m confident I’ll do a good job. There’s been a lot of interest in the fight around Belfast, that’s for sure.”
Carmichael, 33, knows that he needs his own career to kick on very quickly after turning professional relatively late.
“I really want to move on as fast as possible. An Irish title has to be my aim for 2013 — fights against the likes of Stephen Reynolds and Ian Timms would be ideal and even a chance at a cruiserweight Prizefighter, that’s something that I’d love to do.”
Meanwhile, the supporting bill also features Fury’s cousin Phill Fury in a good light-middleweight match-up against Sandy Row’s Joe Hillerby. The winner is expected to go on and challenge Lee Murtagh for the Irish light-middleweight title in the New Year.
Coach Peter Fury said: “This is a good fight for Phill. He has improved a lot and the public will see that on Saturday night.”