Stephen Haughian Fired-up for Celtic Clash

boxingBy Brendan Galbraith - Stephen Haughian (18-1-1) challenges Kevin McIntyre for the vacant Celtic Welterweight Title at the Kings Hall tomorrow night and is hoping this will be the springboard for future titles this year.

Speaking at today’s weigh in Haughian is feeling confident about his prospects against McIntyre:

“He is a good opponent, a former British Champion – which speaks for itself – so he has been around and has plenty of experience, but I have plenty of experience myself.”

“I have been sparring in John Breen’s gym since I was 15, so I was sparring Eamonn Magee and Neil Sinclair and when they were holding British and Commonwealth Titles at the time – so I have been sparring them when I was 15 and 16 years of age and I have been a pro for ten years..

“So I have plenty of experience myself and I am the younger and fresher man. I feel very strong at the weight and I am just raring to go”

Haughian, who brought good support from his hometown of Lurgan for his last appearance at the Kings Hall – a very controversial points loss to Giammario Grassellini (a loss that was later avenged) will be bringing even more support for his return to the Balmoral venue:

“There will be more support this time around as I have since avenged that controversial loss (to Grassellini) and I have since won an Irish Title at home in Lurgan”.

“So I had great support that night and a lot of them people will be going down to the Kings Hall this time around – and even more – because there is great support in Lurgan for boxing and for myself. I think there are 8 x 50-seater bus-loads going from Lurgan and then there are people driving and people taking the train.

The Kings Hall is well situated across the road from the Balmoral train station – making it a very accessible venue for Haughian’s Lurgan support:

“A lot of people are going to take the train and then they can just get the last train back home again”

John Breen told me yesterday, a British Title shot is on the cards for Haughian if he can get past McIntyre. Haughian said:

“Anybody that has fought for this Celtic Title has fought for the British Title after it and they used to use it (Celtic Title) as an eliminator. I would say that would be the next thing (British Title shot). Any title would be nice, the Commonwealth with Denton Vassell or the European with Matthew Hatton. As long as it is moving in the right way and moving forward.”

Haughian has not only been getting top sparring with Paul McCloskey and Joe Rea but has also has been engaged in ‘mind technology’ sessions with Steve McGeown which has included sessions of walking barefoot across hot coals – ‘fire-walking’.

“It is mind technology – basically ‘mind over matter – seeing yourself at the end of the fire before you are there’. It is the same way as in a fight. I actually sat on a stool and walked over the fire from the stool as if I was in the ring going out for a certain round. So that is what it is all about – it is programming your head”.

In addition to this Haughian has benefited from the strength and conditioning expertise of Mick McGurn:

“It has been great working with Mick McGurn and has been a big help, because going down in weight you lose strength – but I was keeping my strength in sparring because I was doing that (work with McGurn) on top of my boxing training. And the strength has been staying with me – have felt the strongest I have ever felt, I made that weight comfortably yet I still feel strong.”

Article posted on 10.06.2010

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