Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

O’Donnell throws down the gauntlet to Haughian

Stephen Haughian is Irish welterweight champion

John O’Donnell has called on Stephen Haughian to step up and put his Irish welterweight title on the line when the clash at the Odyssey Arena.

O’Donnell and Haughian are set to meet on the supporting bill to Tyson Fury’s heavyweight clash with former World title challenger Kevin Johnson in an eight rounder but the Galway-born former Commonwealth champion says it should be for the Irish belt.

“Stephen Haughian should man up and put his Irish title on the line,” said O’Donnell.

“The fight is made for eight rounds so why no add another two rounds and make it for the Irish title. That’s what I’ve wanted all along because it would mean a lot to me to win the Irish title.

“Stephen has said that I was avoiding him before but I’ve never ducked anyone and I’m ready for this fight.

“It’s a very important fight for me at this stage of my career and I’m in great shape. I can’t wait for December 1, there can only be one winner and that’s me.”

O’Donnell won the Commonwealth title in 2009 when he defeated Craig Watson but then lost to the same opponent last year when challenging for the British belt.

The title now belongs to former amateur star Frankie Gavin and O’Donnell would love a showdown with the British champion.

“I know people think that my best is behind me and they think that because of my loss to Craig Watson and I understand that so I have a point to prove on December 1,” added O’Donnell.

“I know that Frankie Gavin has the British title but he won’t fight me. He’ll stay clear of me unless I can become the number one challenger for the British title.

“When I lost to Watson I had a lot of problems, I knew after three or four rounds that I was going to lose the fight but those things are behind me. I’m going to Belfast to make a statement, to show people that I’m back and I mean business.”

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