Belfast Telegraph

Boxing: Kelly goes Sky-high

THE Sky's the limit for Damaen Kelly ... quite literally, it would appear.

THE Sky's the limit for Damaen Kelly ... quite literally, it would appear.

The satellite company which has transformed soccer has, over the past four years, done a similar job on boxing.

Kelly's manager Frank Maloney, in town yesterday to announce the Belfastman's British and Commonwealth title fight with Oxford's Darren Fifield, recently signed a new contract with BSkyB.

'When I did the deal with Sky they told me that they wanted boxing in Belfast like the way it was when Barry McGuigan was around. I told them that Damaen Kelly can deliver that,' said Maloney.

'Really, I've put my reputation on the line with Damaen and they are prepared to come to Belfast if there's a good crowd and if we deliver the right fights.'Former Commowealth champion Fifield fits the bill for the champion's first defence on home soil. 'He will be in Damaen's face all night,' said Maloney.

Maloney accepts that due to Kelly's domination in previous bouts they were at times 'dull' and paymasters Sky, who choreograph the glitzy, lazer-beamed entrances of Britain's top stars, are looking for more.

'They are very excited about Damaen but they want real fights. Damaen reminds me of Lennox Lewis and other great fighters _ he does what is necessary and needs a real challenge to bring out the best in him,' said Maloney.

And for the Sky executives to be tempted to stage shows in Belfast they are looking for a better than even chance of a competitive duel. With an extra £100,000 added to the costs of running in Belfast, it's no wonder.

'For me, it costing an extra £30,000 to run in Belfast but in the long run I believe I'll get it back. It's important that all goes well,' said Maloney.

Should Kelly overcome Fifeld at the Maysfield Leisure Centre on May 22 then he's lined up to face Glasgow's Keith Knox, back in Belfast.

On the supporting bill, Eamonn Magee will box an eight rounder though not against original opponent Bernard McComiskey. Maloney explained why the Belfastman had not got his much awaited re-match with Commonwealth light- welterweight champion Paul Burke.

'I offered him £15,000 for a fight with Magee in Belfast but he turned it down and I offered him a fight with Magee in Manchester last month which he turned down. He's fighting Bernard Paul for £10,000 in Manchester next week.

'I don't think he'll face Magee. If he beats Paul he'll give up the title and go in a different direction. If Paul wins he'll come to Belfast because I've got him under contract,' said Maloney.

Tickets for Kelly-Fifield are £50, £30, £20, £15.

Belfast Telegraph

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