Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Duddy’s has Hill to climb in New York fight

John Duddy will face American Sam Hill on November 21 at the Roseland Ballroom in New York.

The fight should provide him with the opportunity to sharpen his skills for the biggest fight of his life - a January battle with Ronald Hearns, son of the great Hitman Tommy.

Duddy, now campaigning at light-middleweight as a result of linking up with new coach Pat Burns, is expected to have little trouble dealing with Hill as he has a record of 17 wins and nine defeats.

The unbeaten Derry man will meet Hill in a ten-rounder as he looks ahead to the Hearns clash, which is in effect a world title eliminator.

Duddy-Hearns is expected to be on HBO television with the winner probably going on to challenge IBF world light-middleweight champion Verno Phillips.

Duddy's manager Eddie McLoughlin is keen to see the 29-year-old continue to show his progress under the guidance of Burns who has emphasised the Ulsterman's boxing's skills to go with his natural aggression.

"John made a big improvement in his last fight. Charlie Howe may not have been the toughest opponent but the way John went about his work was much better," said McLoughlin, who knows that the clash with Hearns will be make or break for his world title ambitions.

"The fight with Hearns is going to be huge. It's going to be tough but it's a fight that will give John the chance to show his world title credentials as well as showing the big television companies that he deserves his chance.

"But we've learned from past experience that in this business you can't afford to look too far ahead. Look what happened with the Walid Smichet fight - we had the Kelly Pavlik fight all lined up after that and it didn't happen because of the performance.

"But that was probably a blessing in disguise because now John is at light-middleweight where I believe he is a bigger threat.

"This fight will establish him at the weight and I hope that he can continue to progress the way he has been since we brought in Pat Burns.

“The change has helped John a lot and I believe there’s more to come.

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