Belfast Telegraph

Boxing: Duddy the only show in town, says Peters

By David Kelly

The promotional stakes were raised yesterday.

Inside the ring it's John Duddy against Howard Eastman and Wayne McCullough against Kiko Martinez. At the box office it's Duddy v McCullough. Two King's Hall shows just a week apart.

Brian Peters confirmed that Duddy will meet former two-time world title challenger Eastman on December 8 with a supporting act featuring two IBF inter-continental title fights and two Irish title fights. A week earlier McCullough faces the Spaniard who blew away Bernard Dunne.

As charismatic Duddy arrived for yesterday's press conference, Peters made it clear that he feels he has already landed a financial knockout blow.

"John Duddy, the only show in town," quipped Peters, who has priced tickets for his show at £40, £70 and £90 ringside, from Ticketmaster.

Peters has no doubt that McCullough's return to the ring on December 1, after a two-and-half year absence, will not hurt his show which will see Paul McCloskey and Stephen Haughian in their first 12-rounders, James Gorman meeting Cavan's Andrew Murray for the Irish light-welterweight title and Ciaran Healy facing Lee Murtagh for the Irish light-middle belt.

"I've done 26 shows and I think this will be my best. There's just no comparison between the two shows," said Peters. "It's the survival of the fittest and I think we'll be alright because John Duddy is one of the hottest properties in world boxing.

"The only similarity between the shows is that they are both in the King's Hall."

Unbeaten Duddy expects Eastman, who has been the distance with former world champions William Joppy and Bernard Hopkins, to provide a true test of his progress.

"When you consider the quality of opponents that he has boxed he is going to ask big questions of me but I believe that I can answer them," said Duddy.

"Howard has been to the very top, he's been to where I want to get to and I can't wait for the fight. Fighting in the King's Hall is a dream come true.

"I used to watch Barry McGuigan and Dave McAuley on television and now I have the chance to follow in their footsteps.

"The King's Hall is such a special place for Irish boxing and I think the atmosphere is just going to be amazing."

Eastman, whose arrival in Belfast from Guyana cost £2,500 and took 36 hours, is coming off a surprise defeat to British champion Wayne Elcock but, nevertheless, had a warning for Duddy.

"I'm here to beat your golden boy on December 8," said former European champion Eastman.

Unbeaten McCloskey is waiting for an opponent for his IBF inter-continental light-welter title bout, while Lurgan man Haughian meets reigning IBF inter-continental welterweight champion Giammario Grassellini of Italy.

"This is a great opportunity for me. It's just the fight that I need at this stage of my career. I know that I can move up a level and win my first title," said Haughian.

Belfast Telegraph


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