Belfast Telegraph

McCloskey must face Lauri again

By David Kelly

Paul McCloskey has been ordered to have a rematch with Giuseppe Lauri by the European Boxing Union.

European light-welterweight champion McCloskey knocked out the Italian in the 11th round of their King’s Hall clash last month, but it had been close up to that point and it would seem that the lack of drug testing following the fight may also have helped the Lauri’s camp case for a return.

In addition to that, Lauri complained after the stoppage defeat that he was gesturing to touch gloves when caught by the unbeaten Dungiven man’s right hand.

McCloskey (inset) dismissed that suggestion, arguing: “I don’t go in there to hug, kiss or touch gloves. You’re meant to protect yourself at all times.”

Purse bids for the rematch must be in by September 11 with Matchroom Sports expected to once again win the rights to stage the fight.

McCloskey’s coach John Breen said: “I don’t mind that he has to face Lauri again because this time he will do a much better job — we’ll see the real Paul McCloskey.

“Paul knows that he allowed himself to be dragged into a fight but this time I expect him to box the head off him.

“I don’t see why there should be a rematch because Paul knocked him out but it’s not a problem.”

McCloskey is currently ranked seven in the world by the WBC and Breen believes he is edging ever closer to a shot at one of the major world title belts.

“I think with one or two more European title defences Paul should then be fighting for a world title. It could even come sooner because he’s certainly ready to box for a world title.”

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