Belfast Telegraph

Martin Rogan facing up to long road back

By David Kelly

Slumped on his stool, beaten for the second time in succession, Martin Rogan’s fairytale rise had turned to dust.

The Odyssey Arena had been sold out for a second time and once more the Belfast man had lost to Sam Sexton, who has since been on the end of a comprehensive beating by Derek Chisora.

Chisora’s reward has been a shot at World heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. A year to the very night of that defeat to Sexton and Rogan returns in a six rounder in Limerick.

New manager Brian Peters is certainly not taking any chances as the 39-year-old starts out on a long road back to title contention. The man in the opposite corner tomorrow night will be Bulgarian Yavor Marinchev who has won a mere five fights and lost 20.

A quick win is expected and then Rogan will be back out again in two weeks time in Castlebar as he looks to rebuild a career which saw him soar from nowhere to Commonwealth heavyweight champion within 12 months.

Rogan suffered from a serious neck injury leading up to the second defeat to Sexton, unable to spar regularly and he paid the price.

His first step towards trying to get back into contention for a shot at the British or Commonwealth title will see him as part of the supporting bill to the all-Irish European super-bantamweight title fight between Paul Hyland and Willie Casey — a Prizefighter winner just like Rogan.

“I'm so excited about getting back into the ring again and getting on with things,” says Rogan.

“Everything has gone brilliantly in training. Even though the neck felt fine and the doctors had given me the all clear it's always in the back of your mind until you ac

tually get back in he ring and start sparring and really put it to the test but things couldn't have gone better.

“When I look back at the eighteen months from winning the Prizefighter to the second Sam Sexton fight it was crazy trying to squeeze all that in.

“I won the Prizefighter, then beat Audley Harrison and then went on to stop Matt Skelton all in the space of ten months.

“I should have taken a break at that point but it was straight back into the gym the week after the Skelton fight to start training for the first Sexton fight.

“My body was crying out for rest and I knew it but I didn't listen.

“All those fights were tough, physical battles and by the time of the Sexton fights everything had just caught up with me.”

Rogan should shake off the rust against the Bulgarian and once more get on the winning trail.

The main event looks set to serve up a tasty treat as there is very little between Casey and Hyland.

Limerick man Casey’s natural strength and aggression may just be the deciding factor.

Meanwhile, Kevin O’Hara has pulled out of the super-featherweight Prizefighter Series due to injury.

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