Boxing


Andy Lee vs Willie Gibbs This Saturday

The undercard for this Saturday’s Ladbrokes.com Fight Night features a trio of fighters who have the knockout looks to go with their knockout punches. Up and coming prospects Stephen Haughian, John O’Donnell and Logan McGuinness should prove popular with female fight fans at the University Arena in Limerick this weekend but promoter Brian Peters says there’s more to boxing than looking the part..

“I suppose there is no doubt that they are three very good looking guys and very personable as well but none of that matters in boxing unless you can fight and I don’t think there is any doubting their credentials in that department either,” said Peters.

The event is headlined by local hero Andy Lee as he bids to turn back the challenge of American dangerman, Willie “The Gladiator” Gibbs but the undercard is also packed with talent.

“This will be Logan’s first fight as a pro but he was a very good amateur in Canada,” said Peters. “Stephen and John are both well regarded welterweight prospects who could be on a collision course and I think that’s a fight that would interest a lot of fans both here and in the U.K.”

Both Haughian and O’Donnell have remarkably similar records – Haughian has won all but one of his 15 professional bouts while O’ Donnell has been victorious in 17 of his 18 paid outings. With both knocking on the door of title contention they will be out to impress in Limerick.

Haughian in particular looks set for a hard nights work when he faces Italian Giuseppe
Langella. In fact Haughian’s only defeat came at the hands of Italian opposition when he was controversially outpointed over 12 rounds by Giammario Grassellini for the IBF Intercontinental title last December.

The split decision defeat suffered in the Kings Hall in Belfast that night still rankles with Haughian’s trainer John Breen. “I think the two judges who voted for Grassellini were the only two people in the Kings Hall that though he won that fight,” fumed Breen.

“I was very proud of Stephen though because it was his first time going 12 rounds and he had only just turned 23 so he handled the occasion very well.”

Breen who also has Paul McCloskey, Jim Rock, Neil Sinclair, Martin Rogan and Jason McKay in his stable rates the Lurgan man as highly as any fighter he’s ever been involved with.

“I’ve been saying ever since he turned pro with me that Stephen is the secret weapon in my gym. People are slowly finding out about him so he’s no longer a secret but I believe he’s set for big things. I’d put him in with anyone in Britain right now and I’d love to match him with John O’Donnell.”

O’Donnell however is tipped for big things himself. The London based Galwegian suffered the only setback of his career on the biggest stage possible – the undercard to the Floyd Mayweather – Oscar De La Hoya mega fight in Las Vegas last year.

However since that defeat he’s rebuilt with a pair of impressive wins and his promoter Mick Hennessy believes his potential is limitless.

“Irish boxing is going through a really good spell at the moment. It’s definitely on the up. It’s in a really healthy state with the likes of Andy Lee, Bernard Dunne, John Duddy and Paul McCloskey, but I believe that O’Donnell is the pick of the lot. They are all quality fighters who are doing great stuff on both sides of the Atlantic, but O’Donnell is the one.”

O’ Donnell is trained by the former British and Commonwealth middleweight champ Robert McCracken and the highly regarded trainer rates O’Donnell as one of his brightest stars. As for O’Donnell he can’t wait to fight in Ireland for the second time as a professional having fought in the National Stadium back in 2006.

“I have a lot of family in Ireland, so I go back there all the time,” said O’Donnell. “It’s always great to box over there. I get a great reception. When I boxed at the National Stadium I was made to feel really at home.”

Big things are also expected of Canadian – Irishman Logan McGuinness who makes his pro debut on the card. The Ontario native is trained by ex-pro Chris Johnson who also trains World Champion and potential Bernard Dunne rival Steve Molitor.

Johnson is delighted with McGuinness’ work ethic and believes he’s a potential star in the making. “Logan listens to me and applies everything I teach him, so I am really looking forward to his transition from the amateur ranks to the pros. It’s an entirely different game, one that I think Logan will excel in.”

The chief support contest will feature the undefeated and highly rated Paul McCloskey as he takes on English Champion Nigel Wright while there will also be local interest in the shape of Limerick’s Jamie Power who has his second pro outing. Also in action is former Lee opponent, Jason McKay and Castlebar puncher Keith Cresham

Tickets for the Ladbrokes.com Fight Night priced from €60 are available from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets.

Article posted on 15.07.2008



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