Irish fight fans look set for a feast of boxing on the next Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the Point, Dublin on Saturday, August 25th with the addition of Matthew Macklin and Paul McCloskey to an already star studded line-up..
It’s a night that already promises much with European super bantamweight champion Bernard Dunne making his long awaited mandatory defence against unbeaten Spainard, Kiko “La Sensacion” Martinez while Belfast’s Brian Magee challenges British light heavyweight champ Tony Oakey in the second title fight on the card.
There’s a further bonus with the Irish professional debut of 2004 Olympian and current unbeaten middleweight sensation Andy Lee and now the addition of Macklin and McCloskey mark it out as a Fight Night not to be missed.
Birmingham based Macklin is fresh from a winning return to action last month in where he scored an impressive first round KO over Anatoliy Udalov. That improved his pro record to 18 wins against just 2 defeats and with friend and sparring partner Ricky Hatton in his corner the former Irish middleweight champion is full of confidence ahead of his Dublin date.
Macklin will clash with Darren Rhodes from Leeds over 8 rounds and Hatton expects the former Tipperary underage hurling star to impress. The “Hitman” is eyeing up a big date of his own in December when he clashes with Floyd Mayweather in a bout to decide the best pound for pound fighter on the planet. However before opening training camp for that bout he hopes to work Macklin’s corner again in Dublin.
Hatton said, “Matt and I have been great friends ever since he moved to Manchester to work with my trainer Billy Graham. He was very impressive last time out but I’m not sure that was down to me being in the corner! I might have brought him some good luck though because it was a great performance. He found a peach of a right hand to finish the fight."
Last months fight was Macklin’s first outing since his 2006 Fight of the Year battle with Jamie Moore for the British light middleweight title. Their back and forth affair ended in a tenth round defeat for Macklin but he’s now made the decision to campaign at middleweight and it’s a decision Hatton welcomes.
“To be honest I think Matt knows himself now that he shouldn’t have been fighting at light middleweight and I think that showed against Jamie. What a war that was though. I’m a boxing fan but I didn’t enjoy that one because it was too good friends of mine taking lumps out of each other so it was hard to watch.
“Matt’s far better off up at middleweight though and he’ still young and still improving. I see him at the gym and he works as hard as anyone there, he has a great work ethic and when you combine that with the ability he has then I really expect him to go places over the next few years.”
Macklin says he can’t wait for his clash with Rhodes and is promising to impress. “I was supposed to fight for the Irish title at the Point in March against Jason McKay but I had to pull out with a rib injury. I ended up commentating instead for RTÉ and the atmosphere was so good that it was sickening to be honest because I was desperate to be in the ring.
“I finally got back in there last month and I can’t wait now for the 25th. I’m really up for it and hopefully I’ll put in a performance for people to talk about.”
Another man eager for a quick return to action is Derry’s Paul McCloskey. The undefeated Dungiven man impressed at the National Stadium last month with a stunning one punch KO of tough Argentinean Ivan Orlando Bustos but he’s not resting on his laurels and faces another tough challenge on August 25th.
McCloskey takes on Alfredo Di Feto over 8 rounds with Di Feto coming into the fight on the back of losing a close decision for the Italian title. However McCloskey’s coach John Breen says he has no fears about McCloskey – even against the very best.
The Belfast trainer said, “Paul might only have had 11 fights as a pro but he’s ready for anyone. I’d put him in with the European Champion Colin Lynes right now. I see him sparring day in day out and I believe Paul has the potential to go all the way. The important thing with Paul is that he’s kept busy and Brian Peters is doing that for him now.”
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night promoted by Brian Peters Promotions in association with Denis Hobson and Team Magee are priced from €75 and are available from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets.