Belfast Telegraph

McCloskey inspired by travelling army as he counts down to Khan fight

By David Kelly

Paul McCloskey’s army of fans are ready to inspire him to glory on Saturday night.



WBA World light-welterweight title challenger McCloskey has revealed that he expects around 6,000 fans to be roaring him on at the MEN Arena when he clashes with World champion Amir Khan.

While Khan will still have the majority of the support among the 16,000 fans expected to be packed into the arena, European champion McCloskey knows he will not feel like any ordinary away fighter.

“The support I have been getting leading up to this fight has been incredible and knowing the amount tickets that have been sold from my website and from home I think it’s going to be an unbelievable atmosphere,” said McCloskey.

“As a fighter you have to be ready to box wherever you are but knowing that I am going to walk into the arena and be cheered on by about 6,000 people is amazing.

“That can only inspire you and I know that there are people living in England supporting me and even one guy is flying in from New York for the fight.”

McCloskey’s coach John Breen says the undefeated challenger has settled very well in Manchester as the countdown to the big night hots up and he has also become aware of more than just Ulster fans hoping for an upset on Saturday night.

“Since arriving here we’ve had a lot of people coming up and wishing us well and there have been quite a few English people who have shown us their support,” said Breen.

“Before Paul left they had a reception for him in Dungiven and around 3,000 people turned up which was great and he’s going to get great support in the MEN Arena.

“The closer we get to the fight the more confident I am that the World title will be coming home with us. I’ve never seen Paul in such good shape mentally and physically. He’s very, very confident and just looking forward to doing the job.

“This is a fight that I have always wanted for Paul because I believe that he has the tools to beat Khan.

“We know that Khan has improved as a fighter but he still makes some very amateurish mistakes and it’s up to Paul to capitalise on that.

“Paul just has to be very smart and not get involved in a real scrap. As long as he sticks to his game plan I think everything will be alright.

“It would be a great achievement, one of the best by any irish fighter in recent years.”

Meanwhile, Cavan’s unbeaten lightweight Andy Murray will have an eight rounder on the supporting bill against Blackburn’s Graeme Higginson.

Murray is aiming for a shot at the European title later in the year and is expected to easily handle Higginson.

Coach Breen added: “Andy is well placed for a shot at the European champion John Murray and after watching his last fight I would love to see Andy getting a shot at him very soon because he has improved a lot recently.”

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