Willie Casey is out to show he’s the premier super-bantamweight from the Emerald Isle on Saturday night at the King’s Hall.
Carl Frampton staked his claim to that mantle when he bagged the Commonwealth super-bantam title at the Odyssey Arena in emphatic fashion, but former European champion Casey is adamant that he remains the number one.
When Frampton’s original opponent for Saturday night, European champion Kiko Martinez pulled out of their clash, Casey was one of those offered the chance to face the Belfast man, but he declined.
“It wasn’t the right time for the fight. I am working on a few things with my new coach so after a couple of wins then I want another European title fight whether it’s Frampton or Kiko,” said Casey ahead of his bout with Frenchman Daniel Kodjo Sassou on the supporting bill to Tyson’s Fury clash with Nicolai Firtha.
“I watched Carl’s fight on Saturday night and he was very good, but his opponent allowed him to look very good. Carl's a very good boxer but you can’t say the same about his opponent.
“I thought the opponent would have given him a better run for his money to be honest.
“But look, it’s a big fight for Ireland — two top super-bantamweights that have pretty much the same style of boxing. Hopefully in the New Year it can happen, it would be a great fight.”
Limerick-man Casey has based himself in Belfast now with new coach Paul McCullagh and says that he has already seen a difference in his work in the gym.
“I’ve been very impressed with the work I’ve been doing with Paul and Sean McCullagh. It’s going to take time, but I’m already very impressed with my improvement.
“The opponent I have on Saturday night is a very good opponent and it will be a very good test for me coming back after the World title defeat.”
Promoter Gary Hyde added: “Willie never lost the European title in the ring, he vacated it to fight for the World title so the plan is to get his belt back.”
There will be an all-Belfast light-middleweight clash when David Walsh makes his debut against Gerard Healy, who won on his debut in May against journeyman Aaron Fox
Also on the bill is an intriguing duel between Sandy Row’s unbeaten Joe Hillerby and Tommy Tolan.