Belfast Telegraph

Heavyweight boxing needs a Rogie win this weekend

By Michael Bashford

The heavyweight division of boxing is in a bit of a state at the moment.

The era of Ali, Foreman, Spinks and most recently Tyson is all but a distant memory and while many a fighter has tried to fill the void left by these wonderful fighters including the likes of Lewis, Holyfield and Bowe, boxing fans nowadays look elsewhere for their heroes.

Step forward Martin Rogan. Ok, he isn't in the class of any of the above fighters but what he lacks for in skill he more than makes up for in will. It is a real life fairytale that could grace cinema screens across the world.

The former taxi driver from west Belfast is living the dream having won the Prizefighter competition in 2008. His aggressive style of fighting has captured the imagination of fight fans across Ireland, north and south. His outspoken nature has also endeared him to fans with a quick wit that would rival many a comedian.

Following his prizefighter competition success, when he beat three men in one evening to walk away as winner, Martin went on a 12 match unbeaten run, taking apart the likes of Audley Harrison and Matt Skelton, to claim the Heavyweight Commonwealth title.

Unfortunately in his first defence of this title against Sam Sexton earlier this year he was stopped in the eighth round with a closed eye. Although Sexton was ahead on points Rogie had the Englishman in real trouble.

Which brings me to Saturday's rematch at the Odyssey Arena. Rogie is really up for this match and looking for revenge. And having witnessed his outburst of anger at the recent press conference (google it if you haven't

seen it) Sexton could be in for a tough time.

But a couple of things worry me. Being so worked up could sap some well needed energy from the big man. At 38 years of age Rogie is no spring chicken and needs to conserve as much energy as possible against an opponent 13 years his junior.

Secondly, and perhaps more worryingly, the former cabbie recently parted ways with his trainer John Breen.

The Belfast based coach was instrumental in bringing Rogie to the top of the heavyweight tree.

Could a change in routine, as he prepares for a make or break fight, affect him in a negative way?

Well, let’s hope not because British and Irish boxing needs a fighter like Rogie who fights like a lion and has a heart as big as any boxer in the world right now.

Good luck big man!

Belfast Telegraph


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