Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang, Kiko and “Iron Man” Rogan ready to rock Limerick; Irish trio looking to further professional apprenticeship on McCloskey undercard
Kiko Martinez, Paul Hyland, Willie Casey and Martin Rogan pictured at today's press conference ahead of the Hunky Dorys Fight Night on November 6th in Limerick.
Article posted on 02.10.2010
The Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory at the University Arena, Limerick on Saturday, November 6th was already shaping up to be explosive with Kiko “La Sensación” Martinez defending his European Super Bantamweight title against Limerick's own Willie “Big Bang” Casey but extra TNT has been added to the night with the news that Belfast's Martin Rogan will make his return from injury on the card..
The inaugural Prizefighter winner and former Commonwealth Heavyweight Champ will feature on the card as he bids to bounce back from a career threatening injury. Reigning European Union and Irish Super Bantamweight Champ Paul Hyland will also feature in Limerick with the talented Dubliner eyeing a shot at the winner of Martinez – Casey.
Ireland has become a happy hunting ground for Martinez ever since his sensational win over Bernard Dunne in 2007 to first capture the European title and the Spaniard is confident that he can add the undefeated “Big Bang” Casey to his list of Irish conquests.
“Of course I would have preferred to defend my title at home in Alicante,” admitted Martinez. “I could draw 10,000 people to a Bull Ring if the fight was held there but a Champion proves his worth by going to the challengers back yard and that is what I will be doing in Limerick on November 6th and I fully expect to retain my title.”
Naturally Casey has other plans and despite being a pro for less than 2 years the Limerick southpaw isn't at all phased by Martinez's reputation as a dynamite puncher. “Kiko's talking about defending his title in a bull ring but I can guarantee him that he will be facing a bull in the ring in Limerick and he will have to meet me head on,” said Casey. “This will be my night, it's a fantastic opportunity and one I am determined to make the most of. Of course everyone knows Kiko can hit but I'm called “Big Bang” for a reason as well so let's see who can take the power on the night.”
Casey emerged in to serious title contention following his Prizefighter win in London earlier this year the same route travelled by Martin Rogan in a meteoric rise that saw him go on to defeat Audley Harrison before a thrilling KO win over then European and Commonwealth Champ Matt Skelton. However a serious neck injury and back to back defeats have seen Rogan out of the ring for almost a year but he is determined to bounce back and bounce back in style.
The popular Belfast fighter formerly known as “The Entertainer” says he will be coming back as “The Iron Man” and is boldly predicting that he will bring a World Heavyweight title back to Ireland. “Like the old song says, you ain't seen nothin yet!,” said Rogan. “I'm back in the gym, 100% healthy and can't wait to start the second phase of my career in Limerick on November 6th. The Entertainer is gone, long live the Iron Man!
“I'll still be providing entertainment of course but I'm calling myself the “Iron Man” from here on in because I have added steel and resolve now. The time out of the ring has only made me more determined to prove that I have what it takes to bring a World Heavyweight title to Ireland. People said I wouldn't win the Prizefighter, people said I wouldn't beat Audley Harrison, people said I wouldn't beat Matt Skelton but I did all that and trust me that will be nothing compared to what I'm going to do from here on in.
“The heavyweight division is a bit of a joke right now. You have a guy in Audley Harrison who I beat almost 2 years ago taking on David Haye for the World title in November so that tells you everything you need to know about the state of the heavyweights right now but I'm back and I'm going to be their worst nightmare. I won't rest until I have that World title belt wrapped around my waist.”
Rogan says he's completely recovered from the serious neck injury which came close to ending his career. “I first noticed the problem in my neck after the Matt Skelton fight,” explained Rogan. “You should always listen to you're body but I ignored it and it just got progressively worse to the point where by the second Sam Sexton fight I was essentially a one armed fighter.
“I had the surgery in January and it required a three and a half hour operation called a discectomy fusion to fix the problem. Basically I had a protruding disc from my back which was pressing on the nerves in my neck and causing me to lose all feeling in my arm. It was a serious injury but thank god the surgery went very well and I feel ready to take on the world again.”
Promoter Brian Peters believes that it's a night worthy of the billing. “Everyone argues over the date of the Big Bang but for me it will be November 6th, 2010. The main event is the kind of matchup that fight fans dream about and to have the return of Martin Rogan on the card is the icing on the cake. Martin's self belief and conviction that he can being a World Heavyweight title back to Ireland is infectious and I'll be doing everything in my power to help him realise that ambition. He's a real life Rocky story and in terms of all action warriors they don't come any bigger than Martin.”
Peters is also expecting a big performance from Paul Hyland as he looks to press his claims for a shot at the winner of Martinez – Casey. “Paul is a gifted fighter and he will get a platform in Limerick to showcase his skills and hammer home the point that he is ready to take on whoever emerges from the main event.”
Further undercard details for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory will be announced shortly.
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory will go on sale from 9am tomorrow (Friday, October 1st) from Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and all usual outlets.
Irish trio looking to further professional apprenticeship on McCloskey undercard
While Paul McCloskey will look to defend his European Light Welterweight title against Scotland's Barry Morrison at The Aura, Letterkenny in the main event on Saturday's Hunky Dorys Fight Night three aspiring new pro's will be looking to further their professional apprenticeships on the undercard with Donegal man Michael McLaughlin, Mayo's Finbarr Eade and Dublin's Brendan Fitzpatrick all in action in the 9 fight card.
Carndonagh native McLaughlin will have huge support as he makes his pro debut in his home county and naturally he's excited about embarking on his new career so close to home. “I've always wanted to turn professional since I started boxing as a 12 year old so this really is something I've been looking forward to for a long, long time,” said the 26 year old who will campaign at light welterweight. “I'll have great support there from Carndonagh and I'm really excited about it because I never thought I'd get to make my pro debut so close to home.”
McLaughlin won an Irish Intermediate title as an amateur and made the decision to turn professional after being forced to withdraw from this years Senior Championships with injury. “I was in Australia for a while but I came back and had planned on giving the Senior's a good go this year but I got injured and had to pull out so at that point I made the decision to switch to the pros.”
Although the first bell is yet to ring on his professional career McLaughlin has already proved his commitment with regular 5 hour round trips to trainer John Breen's Gym in Belfast. “It's not easy but you need to make sacrifices in this game and that's just one of them. Breen's Gym is one the best in Europe right now so it's worth making the trip up there a few times a week because the sparring there is top class with guys like Paul McCloskey and Andy Murray there. All the hard work has been done now so I'm back home this week just ticking over and waiting for that bell to ring on Saturday.”
At 35 Westport native Finbarr Eade is something of a late comer to the pro game but with 2 impressive wins already under his belt the Mayo man is confident that he can make a big impact.
“I might not be the youngest pro out there but I would like to think I'm still hungrier than most,” said the Phil Sutcliffe trained fighter. “People have said that time might be against me but if you look at someone like Willie Casey he's shown what it's possible to accomplish in just a short time in the pro's. He turned pro just 2 years ago and he's already getting a European title shot.
“Even when I was an amateur I spent time in pro gyms in the U.S. and Australia so it was always in the back of my mind to give the pro game a try. I was out of the sport for a few years but I started training kids at my Dad's club in Westport, the Eagle Boxing Club and I soon found that I was bitten by the boxing bug again.
“There's good opportunities out there in the pro ranks and hopefully if they come my way I'll be able to grab them with both hands. I broke my hand last year shortly after my debut and that set me back for a bit but the fights are starting to come my way again now and I just want to keep as busy as I can and take whatever chances come my way. I'm confident that if I get the opportunities I can cause a few upsets and I'd love to win an Irish title but for now I just need to concentrate on this weekend.
Dubliner Brendan Fitzpatrick only made his pro debut at the National Stadium earlier this month but following an impressive stoppage win he's already stepping up to a scheduled 6 rounder in his second outing. Like McLaughlin the Finglas native is trained by John Breen and the veteran Belfast trainer has been impressed by what he's seen so far. “Brendan's a great attitude in the gym, he's willing to learn and he boxed to instructions in Dublin last month on his debut and got the result he deserved,” said Breen. “He won't be rushed but we won't hold him back either and if he has to go the 6 rounds on Saturday I'm sure that won't be a problem for him.”
The Hunky Dorys Fight Night is live on RTÉ TWO's Pro Box Live from 9:30pm on Saturday with the first live fight of the evening featuring unbeaten Cavan star Andy Murray as he bids to make it 22 straights wins in the pro ranks against Dominican Republic dangerman Johnny Nolasco.
Cork based Cuban duo Alexei “The Hurricane” Acosta and Luis “El Leon” Garcia are also in action as they take on Uruguayan's Cristian Faccio and Jorge Rodriguez Olivera respectively.
Two current Irish Champions also feature with undefeated Featherweight Patrick Hyland and reigning Heavyweight Champ Coleman Barrett taking to the ring.
Take 2 in Letterkenny as Acosta and Faccio finally get it on
The Aura Leisure Centre in Letterkenny will be the unlikely setting for a dual Cuba V Uruguay clash on the undercard of the Hunky Dorys Fight Night on Saturday, October 2nd. Reigning European Light Welterweight Champion Paul McCloskey tops the bill as he makes the second defence of his title against Scotland's Barry Morrison in an all Celtic clash but fireworks are also expected when Irish based Cuban duo, Alexei “The Hurricane” Acosta and Luis “El Leon” Garcia take on Uruguayan's Cristian Faccio and Jorge Rodriguez Olivera respectively.
The clash between Acosta and Faccio was originally supposed to take place in Dublin earlier this month but a late withdrawal by the former world title challenger from South America saw Acosta face Venezuela's Oscar Chacin instead to record his twelfth straight victory as a professional.
The unbeaten 22-year-old has so far lived up to his name by blowing away all 12 opponents in the pro ranks inside the distance and he is confident of another early night against Faccio who was last seen in an Irish ring in 2008 when he gave Bernard Dunne a hard night's work before losing on a technical decision in the Dubliner's last fight before he won the WBA Super Bantamweight title.
“Faccio is a good fighter and probably the best I've fought in my career so far because of his experience and the fact that he has fought for the World title,” said Acosta. “He says he is determined to win in Ireland this time, I know he was frustrated when his fight with Dunne ended because of a clash of heads and I have heard that he doesn't think I am ready for him but we will see on the night.
“So far I have not had to rely on the judges in my career but I know that you cannot knock everyone out so I am ready to go the distance if necessary. Faccio has quite a few KO's on his record too but he can be a bit wild so I will be looking to take advantage of that and make him pay for his mistakes.”
Faccio has won 4 of his 5 fights since the reversal to Dunne and he believes that Acosta is biting off more than he can chew by taking on someone of his power and experience. “I have trained so hard for this fight”, said Faccio. “I thought it was going to happen in September but I had some personal issues to take care off and now I am happy that this fight will finally happen because I know that people are talking about Acosta as being a big prospect and a future World Champion but I will burst his bubble on October 2nd.
“He might have been a World Champion as an amateur but this is professional boxing, it's a very different sport and he will learn that the hard way. He is too young and too inexperienced but it will be a great name for my record and hopefully put me back on the road to another World title fight.”
Acosta's compatriot Luis Garcia will be looking to extend his perfect professional record to 10 and 0 in Letterkenny when he takes on Jorge Rodriguez Olivera who has won all but one of his 21 pro fights to date. Earlier this week Garcia threw down a challenge to Olympic Gold medallist, James DeGale offering to face the unbeaten British prospect in London on December 11th but the normally loquacious DeGale has remained uncharacteristically tight lipped on the suggestion so far.
The Hunky Dorys Fight Night on October 2nd also features unbeaten Cavan star Andy Murray taking on Dominican Republic dangerman Johnny Nolasco with Dublin's unbeaten featherweight prospect, Patrick Hyland also in action alongside reigning Irish Heavyweight Champ, Coleman Barrett, Mayo's unbeaten Super Featherweight Finbarr Eade, Dublin propsect Brendan Fitzpatrick and the professional debut of Donegal's own Michael McLaughlin
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