Boxing


Yanjing Fight Night: Andy Murray vs Oisin Fagan; Healy replaces Murtagh

Yanjing Fight Night: Weigh In Details
* Andy Murray (134.5 Lbs) V Oisin Fagan (134.5 Lbs) - Irish Lightweight Title (10 Rounds)
* Patrick Hyland (125.5 Lbs) V Mickey Coveney (126 Lbs) - Irish Featherweight Title (10 Rounds)
* Coleman Barrett (225 Lbs) V Colin Kenna (239 Lbs) - Irish Heavyweight Title (10 Rounds)
* Anthony Fitzgerald (162.5 Lbs) V Ciaran Healy (167 Lbs) - Irish Super Middleweight Title (10 Rounds)..
* Alexei Acosta (122.5 Lbs) V Felix Machado (122.5 Lbs) - Super Bantamweight (8 Rounds)
* Willie Casey (Still to Weigh In) V Fernando Guevara (Still to Weigh In) - Featherweight (6 Rounds)
* Jamie Conlan (114.5 Lbs) V Itsko Veselinov (116.5 Lbs) - Super Flyweight (4 Rounds)

Doors open at The National Stadium from 6pm with the bxing starting at 6:30pm.

RTÉ TWO's live coverage of the Yanjing Fight Night begins at 9:30pm with the event also webcast live worldwide on www.rte.ie.

Tickets for the Yanjing Fight Night priced €30, €40, €50 and €60 are available from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie) and all usual outlets.

Undefeated Cavan star Andy Murray knows that more than the Irish Lightweight title will be at stake when he clashes with Dublin's Oisin “Gael Force” Fagan in the main event of the Yanjing Fight Night at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday.

The 27-year-old Murray aims to serve up a career best performance and take his perfect record to 18 straight wins on the biggest night of his career. A headline appearance live on terrestrial television is a huge opportunity for any fighter and Murray is determined to grasp it with both hands.

The Cavan Town native is currently listed as Europe's 4th ranked Lightweight by the European Boxing Union and he has his eye on a crack at European Champ Anthony Mezaache. However before he can tackle the Frenchman he will have to over come a sizeable domestic obstacle in the shape of Irish rival Fagan on Saturday night.

However Murray is no stranger to defying the odds, as a child he suffered from Perthes, a degenerative hip condition that left him confined to a wheelchair and crutches for long periods. The prognosis was not good and it was feared that the condition would leave the youngster with a permanent disability.

However Murray had his own plans and nights spent watching the likes of Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn going toe to toe on TV sparked a passion for boxing and a determination to swap the wheelchair and crutches for a pair of boxing gloves and a gum shield.

Murray's doctors cautioned against it and warned him that rushing into any athletic pursuit could leave him crippled by the age of 20. Ignoring his doctor and his father's advice Murray would sneak down to Cavan Boxing club and his sheer determination to succeed immediately impressed veteran coach Brian McKeown who has stayed involved with Murray right throughout his career. Murray would eventually go on to enjoy a hugely successful amateur career including 3 Irish Senior titles before turning professional in 2005.

While it might be an inspirational story the man himself shrugs it off with typical understatement. “Everyone has their own story and that was mine,” said Murray. “I was lucky, it was detected early and the treatment worked and the hip bone set fine. It never really caused too many problems with my boxing although I suppose it took me a few years to catch up with everyone else because it took a while before the leg was back to full strength.”

Murray's opponent on Saturday night can certainly sympathise. In December of 2008 Oisin Fagan travelled to London to take on current World Champ Amir Khan. A first round knockdown amazingly resulted in a broken leg when the Portmarnock man twisted his ankle awkwardly as he fell. Amazingly he got up in an attempt to fight on but the bout was stopped in the following round with Fagan simply unable to put any weight on his left leg. Doctors later diagnosed the injury as a radial fracture of his fibula.

Despite being friends on Facebook the two men admit that friendship will have to be set aside for 10 ferocious rounds on Saturday night. “Oisin's a good lad but it's just business and I had to fight my friends in the amateur ranks down through the years and they normally make for the best fights!,” said Murray. “This is a big chance for me and I know exactly what I need to do to win so it's just a case of going out there and doing that.

“Of course there's a little extra pressure with all the extra media attention and the fact that it's a headline bout on RTÉ but that all helps to raise your profile and get your name out there. Hopefully I can put in a big performance and I can move on from there and keep moving up the ratings and position myself for a shot at the European Champ.”

However Fagan plans on spoiling Murray's showcase night and believes his experience on the big stage will prove crucial. “Andy's the Golden Boy right now in terms of Irish boxing,” said Fagan. “There's big things expected of him and rightly so but he's young and he can afford a little setback at the weekend.

“It's a big spotlight for Andy and the pressure is on him to that extent. I'm coming in as the underdog but that's the way I've always liked it. I'm well used to big occasions like this, I've fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr. on a big HBO bill at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, I've fought undefeated World Champions like Paul Spadafora and headlined a big Pay Per View event in London against Khan so I know what it's all about and I'll be ready for it. A win against Murray will propel me onto bigger and better things, so I’m raring to go, I feel that this is my time.”

The action packed card features three other Irish title fights as Galway's Coleman Barrett contests the vacant Irish Heavyweight title with Dublin's Colin Kenna while Tallaght's undefeated Patrick Hyland will make the first defence of his Irish Featherweight title against Mickey Coveney. The vacant Irish Super Middleweight title will also be at stake with Dublin's Anthony Fitzgerald looking to stop Belfast's Ciaran Healy from becoming a two weight Irish Champ.

Three other fights on the seven fight card will see Cork based Cuban KO sensation Alexei Acosta taking on former World Champ Felix Machado of Venezuela while Limerick featherweight prospect Willie Casey and new Belfast pro Jamie Conlan will also look to extend their unbeaten records.

RTÉ TWO's live coverage of the Yanjing Fight Night begins at 9:30 with the event also live worldwide on www.rte.ie.

Tickets for the Yanjing Fight Night priced €30, €40, €50 and €60 are available from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie) and all usual outlets.


Healy replaces Murtagh in a bid to become 2 weight Irish Champ

Dublin's Anthony Fitzgerald is adamant that despite a late change of opponent he'll still be wrapping the Irish Super Middleweight title belt around his waist on Saturday night. Fitzgerald will now face former Irish Champ Ciaran Healy in one of 4 Irish title fights on this Saturday's Yanjing Fight Night at The National Stadium in Dublin.

The long anticipated Irish Lightweight title fight between unbeaten Cavan star Andy Murray and Dublin's Oisin “Gael Force” Fagan tops the bill but Fitzgerald believes that his clash with Healy will also have plenty of fireworks. Fitzgerald had been due to meet Lee Murtagh but the Leeds based Irishman withdrew from the bout for the second time in just over 2 months citing an injury and Healy didn't need to be asked twice to replace him.

“Ciaran's tough, strong and very experienced and he always comes to have a fight but that will suit me because I won't have to go looking for him,” said Fitzgerald. “I was disappointed to hear that Murtagh had pulled out again but I wasn't really surprised. We were supposed to fight in December on the Matthew Macklin bill and when he pulled out then I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Looking at it now though I think he knew what he was in for and he just didn't fancy the job but I know that Ciaran is the kind of guy that will get in there and have a scrap with anyone.“

Fitzgerald's thoughts are backed up by Healy's record which includes names such as Andy Lee, former European Champ Jamie Moore, Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale and reigning British super Middleweight Champion Paul Smith. The Belfast battler also holds a fifth round KO win over Murtagh in a fight that saw him win the Irish Light Middleweight title at the Kings Hall in 2007.

For Fitzgerald the late change of opponent means having to adjust from preparing for a southpaw to Healy who fights from an orthodox stance but the Inner City Dubliner says that won't be a problem.“It just means changing tactics a bit but I've trained hard for this and I'm very confident. That title will be coming back to Sean McDermott street with me on Saturday night.”

Murtagh has apologised for his withdrawal telling Irish-Boxing.com that he is now contemplating retirement. “I was sparring on the previous Saturday and I went to throw a punch and the top half of my body turned, but the lower half didn’t and I ended up going over on my knee,” said Murtagh.

“There was heavy swelling and it turned out I’d torn the cartilage which caused internal bleeding. I went to the hospital and got an X-ray but the injury couldn’t be drained. I’m totally off my feet at the moment and ironically it’s the left leg, whereas last time I injured my right. I had taken two weeks in Tenerife to get away from the snow in Leeds and I felt great, was under the stipulated weight limit and am totally gutted about letting people down,” Murtagh lamented.

“I would love to come back, but I have a gym to run and if my knees are not working anymore, what else can I do but retire?”

The other two Irish title fights on the card will see Galway's Coleman Barrett contesting the vacant Irish heavyweight title with Dublin's Colin Kenna while Tallaght's undefeated Patrick Hyland will make the first defence of his Irish Featherweight title against Mickey Coveney.

Three other non title fights on the bill will see Cuban KO sensation Alexei Acosta, featherweight prospect Willie Casey and new Belfast pro Jamie Conlan looking to extend their unbeaten records.

Tickets for the Yanjing Fight Night priced €30, €40, €50 and €60 are available from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie) and all usual outlets.


Article posted on 09.02.2010



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