Martin Rogan simmered, sneered and snarled with all the passion of man who knows that he could be making his last voyage into boxing’s big time.
In the surrounds of the old Harland & Wolff Drawing Offices he was hitting the appropriate note. Defiance has been Rogan’s byword throughout his career and he was standing his ground, adamant that on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic he would deliver a performance to send shockwaves throughout the heavyweight division.
“It’s fantastic to be fighting on this night, the night the unsinkable sank and that’s the way I look at Tyson Fury. I’m the iceberg and when I hit him he going to be going down,” said Rogan at Tuesday’s press conference ahead of Saturday night’s showdown for the vacant Irish heavyweight title.
The 40-year-old Belfast man counterpunched every barb coming his way from unbeaten Fury and went on the attack with his own verbals, claiming that “a true Irishman” would be lifting the title. And when they came face to face Rogan snapped: “Welcome to hell”.
Rogan’s desire for success was summed up when he claimed he was prepared to put his life on the line to come out on top.
“I’m prepared to die in the ring to win this fight, I’m prepared to lose a limb to take him out and that’s what I’m going to do,” said Rogan who revealed the pain he went through when clashing with Sam Sexton in their Commonwealth heavyweight title re-match in 2009.
“After the Sexton fight I had a broken bone in my neck. Ten weeks later I had an operation and I now have a steel plate in my neck.
“Unfortunately I did lose the first time, that was an error on my behalf. I should have thrown the referee out of the ring and hit him. I got the re-match and the second occasion I didn’t even sparr for the fight in which I lasted eight rounds, didn’t even hit a punch bag.
“I couldn’t move my neck, I was told by a doctor on the Malone
Road that I could be paralysed for life. I put the letter under my bed and I spat in my hands, rubbed my hands together and I said that I’m going to fight.
“I’m a fighting man, I’ve lived in one of the hardest areas in Belfast and I’ve come through triumphant.
“Mentally, physically I’m the best shape I could be in. I’m boxing better than ever.
“I have the feeling that he is looking beyond me, I haven’t looked past Saturday, my eyes are firmly on him.
“I’m really looking forward to Saturday night, bring it on, bring it on!
“I haven’t seen my family in five weeks, I’ve been in a training camp and I have done everything that I never done before.
“I’m telling you right now he’s not going to beat me, believe me he’s not going to beat me, he’s not going to beat — you better believe it.”
Fury, meanwhile, revealed that he will have a new, surprise addition to his camp.
“I have a secret weapon, a man that has trained Rogan and taken him to the top so who better to have in my corner than John Breen. If anybody knows how to beat Martin Rogan it’s John Breen,” said Fury.
“Just like the old champion Joe Louis I’m going on a bum a month campaign and Martin is the start of that. It’s going to be a night to remember.”