Belfast Telegraph

Martin Lindsay has world in his fists as he prepares for King's Hall fight

By David Kelly

The wait would seem to be over for Martin Lindsay whose career finally has some direction under the guidance of Frank Maloney.

Promoter Maloney yesterday outlined his plans for the British featherweight champion who he believes can “be fighting for a world title by the end of 2011”, assuming he can deal with the first hurdle of Scotland's John Simpson next Wednesday night.

The King's Hall is the stage for Lindsay, arguably the most accomplished of Irish fighters currently plying their trade, and he is relishing the start of 12 months which may well define his career.

The university graduate is not foolish enough to believe he's now going to glide across a path spliced with rose petals and when former British champion Simpson comes to town it may well be the Irish fight of the year on a value for money bill which also features the British flyweight title fight between champion Shinny Bayaar and Paul Edwards, Olympic bronze medallist Tony Jeffries against Belfast's Tommy Tolan and Belfast flyweight prospects Jamie Conlan and Luke Wilton.

In headlining at the iconic venue Lindsay is following in the footsteps of some of the greats, such as former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan, and Maloney believes he can emulate the Clones Cyclone by reaching the summit.

Maloney said: “I can confirm that Martin's next three fights after this one will be in Belfast at the King's Hall. All being well next week, he'll have another British title defence in February or March, then a European title and then we'll be looking to get him a World title fight.

“If I do my job right and he does his job right then I expect Martin to be fighting for the world featherweight title by the end of 2011.

“We have kept the tickets for this show at very fair prices and we'll keep them at the same price for the next defence and I've already started negotiating for the next defence.

“Martin was a great capture for Frank Maloney promotions and part of the deal was that we brought fights to Belfast and that's what we're doing.

“Sky are very excited about regular shows in Belfast because they love the atmosphere here and as long as the crowd keeps growing and we have some great nights then we will have the ability to bring a world title fight to Belfast.”

Lindsay has no doubt that Simpson will provide a stern test and most believe this will be his hardest fight in a career which has been blighted by inactivity.

Lindsay said: “You can never really tell how a fight will go but I guess on paper with his experience he looks the hardest guy I've faced and I know that he's going to be very hungry to win back the British title.

“He's been British champion and he's just lost the Commonwealth title after a controversial decision to Stephen Smith so I think it's going to be an exciting fight.

“I can't afford to look past Simpson but obviously it's great to know that Frank has a plan for my career. I'm now going to get the chances that every fighter who turns pro dreams about.”

Maloney also said he would be keen to match Belfast men Wilton and Conlan for the Irish flyweight title on the next King's Hall show and both fighters agreed it was a fight they both desired.

“I think it would be a great, I'd be up for that,” said Wilton, who faces Usman Ahmed in a bid to avenge a controversial defeat almost two years ago to the day of their re-match.

Conlan added: “Let’s get the fight on, I want, he says he wants it so let’s do it. Hopefully we can both win next Wednesday and then it can happen. I think it would be great for Belfast.”

The show will also see the debut of Belfast man Tony Mills.

Belfast Telegraph

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