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Matthews-Ramogoadi, Fury-Swaby, Elcock-Macklin, Lee – News

Andy Lee’s disappointment over a scheduled Madison Square Garden date falling through has proven to be short lived after he secured a place on the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night at The O2, Dublin on Saturday, March 21st.


Lee was set to top the bill at the famous New York venue on March 16th but despite that show falling through the Limerick middleweight’s training won’t go to waste with promoter Brian Peters adding him to an already star studded line-up at The O2 on Saturday week.

The main event features Dublin’s own Bernard Dunne challenging for Ricardo Cordoba’s WBA Super Bantamweight title in the first World title fight on Irish soil in 13 years. Two other World Champions will also feature on the card in the shape of World and European amateur champ Katie Taylor and World Junior champ, Ray Moylette. A third amateur contest on the bill sees 2008 Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes in action.

The professional side of the undercard is just as exciting with Lee joining a line-up that already features unbeaten star Andy Murray in a European Union title fight and Jim Rock taking on Italian warrior, Alessio Furlan with prospects Michael Kelly and Anthony Fitzgerald also in action.

Lee says he was devastated by the news that the planned New York show had been scrapped. “When I got news the plug was pulled on my headliner fight at Madison Square Garden on March 16, I was bitterly disappointed, not just for myself but for all the other boxer’s on the card and all the people from home who had spent their money to travel to New York for the fight.

“After weeks of training, preparation and build up, to be told that it was all for nothing was a big let down. For me personally it was an opportunity to initiate and take forward my plans for 2009. I was physically and mentally prepared for the fight and it would have been the perfect comeback fight after my recent layoff.”

However Lee admits he’s now buzzing once again at the thought of his upcoming bout at The O2. “As one door closed, another door opened for me within 24 hours. Brian Peters Promotions stepped in to save the day after an initial phone call from my team. To be fighting on the undercard to Bernard Dunne in his quest to win a World Title in Dublin is a great honour for me. The Irish are the best sport supporters in the world, the atmosphere will be electrifying and it will be a memorable occasion with it being the first World Title fight in Ireland in 13 years.’

Lee hopes the fight can see him get back on the road to title contention following a lengthy lay off to recover from surgery to repair a cut eye suffered in his thrilling win over Willie Gibbs in Limerick last July.

“My plans for the rest of 2009 is to advance my career with developmental fights taking me to the next level of being in the top 10 of the World Ratings. Although my career is based in America, I relish the opportunity of fighting at home. But it’s fight one fight at a time and my focus is now firmly on March 21.”

Lee’s manager and legendary trainer Emanuel Steward says he’s looking forward to sampling the atmosphere at the new O2 in Dublin on a huge night for Irish Boxing. “The disappointment of the March 16 fight in New York soon evaporated when my good friend Brian Peters came into the picture,” said Steward.

“Brian is a very pragmatic guy always thinking on his feet. To put Andy on the card on this momentous night for Irish boxing was a wonderful gesture.”

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available now from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300 or visit ticketmaster.ie). Tickets are also available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide.

Four pounds better off, Mathews targets Lindsay

Tall, angular and possessing the wingspan of a middleweight, Derry Mathews has confounded most in campaigning as a featherweight for over five years. Despite struggling to make the nine stone featherweight limit, Liverpool’s Mathews believed the pain would all be worthwhile.

Following last September’s crushing defeat to Martin Lindsay in a British title eliminator, it appears logic has now prevailed. On March 28 at the Echo Arena, Liverpool, Mathews will make his debut as a title-chasing super-featherweight.

“I was at a point where I’d get to 9st 3lbs or 9st 4lbs and it would kill me to get those last few pounds off and hit 9st (featherweight limit),” explains Mathews, 21-2 (11 KO) as a pro. “I’ll make super-featherweight easy – 9st 4lbs won’t be a problem. I’ll be eating regularly and feeling a lot more comfortable at the weight.”

With the featherweight division a thing of the past, Mathews can now look forward to a title surge four pounds up. Nevertheless, one man remains on his radar.

”Hopefully Martin (Lindsay) goes on to win the British title now,” says Mathews. “You never know, Hayemaker might put me against Lindsay in a catchweight bout at some point in the future. I badly want to fight Lindsay again. He knows I was winning our fight – I think everyone knows that – before he caught me with a stupid shot.

“Take nothing away from Martin, though. He caught me with a cracking punch and he’s a great fighter. I hope he goes on to win the British title from (Paul) Appleby, because he’s a good lad inside and outside of the ring. I think he stops Appleby.”

Last September Mathews and Lindsay waged a give-and-take war in Sheffield, which saw the lanky Liverpudlian floor his Belfast rival in the second round. Battling back and attempting to solve the Mathews puzzle, Lindsay uncorked a Hail Mary left-hook in the ninth round to defeat Derry.

Though crestfallen at the time, Mathews is now thankful for the loss.

“That knockout defeat has just given me the kick up the backside I needed,” admits Mathews. “I now know I’ve got to stay fully focused for 10 or 12 rounds. You can’t switch off for one second.

“I’m not taking chances anymore. I’m not going to let opponents off the hook and just box them. If my opponent is there for the taking, I’m going in to finish them off.”

Rather than working with a gas tank ticking on empty, the super-featherweight Mathews may find more juice with the added four pounds.

“I think I’ll have more speed, more power and more energy,” he says. “When I hurt opponents, I’ll be able to finish them off quickly. I won’t have to maintain my energy and just box my way to the final bell. I’ll be able to let it all hang out now.

“I know that when I box with someone and keep it long, there’s not a featherweight or super-featherweight in the country who can beat me.”

Now part of a stacked division domestically, Mathews holds no fear. After all, though only 25 years of age, Mathews has already beaten Stephen Foster, Jr., John Simpson and Matthew Marsh as a featherweight.

“I’m aiming for the British title shot,” says Derry. “I want that British title by the end of 2009.

“There’s also the Commonwealth champion Ricky Burns, who I’d love to get a shot at. He’s boxing Michael Gomez next. Can you imagine a fight between me and Gomez in Liverpool or Manchester? It would be brilliant for the fans.”

Mathews’ dress rehearsal for a British title tilt takes place on March 28 at the Echo Arena, where he faces Harry Ramogoadi over eight rounds. He can’t think of a better venue to launch his super-featherweight run.

“It doesn’t get much better than fighting at the Echo Arena,” admits Mathews. “Whether you’re boxing first or last, you know you’re going to have the whole of Liverpool behind you. All the Liverpool fighters on this show can’t wait for it.

“One day I’d love to win the British title in Liverpool at the Echo Arena.”

*** Derry Mathews faces Harry Ramogoadi in his super-featherweight debut at HAYEMAKER 6: ‘The Mersey Beatdown’. Setanta Sports will screen the Echo Arena bill live on Saturday March 28.

*** To purchase tickets to HAYEMAKER 6: ‘The Mersey Beatdown’ visit www.accliverpool.com or call 0844 8000 400.

McCracken and Woodhall can’t split Birmingham rivals

Midlands boxing legends Robert McCracken and Richie Woodhall admit that they can’t pick a winner ahead of this weekends “Battle of Brum” as local rivals Wayne Elcock and Matthew Macklin go head to head in a mouth watering British title showdown.

The middleweight clash takes place at the Aston Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night with the Hennessy Sports show also live on ITV4. The eagerly awaited dustup promises to be the biggest midlands boxing derby in years and while neither McCracken or Woodhall can pick a winner they are both predicting a fight to remember.

Both men have been drafted in by the ABA to lend their considerable expertise to Team GB’s boxers ahead of the 2012 Olympics and having once been proud custodians of the Lonsdale belt themselves they know exactly what’s at stake for Elcock and Macklin this weekend.

“It’s a fantastic fight and I think it’s a fight the city needs,” said McCracken. “You have two of the best middleweights in the country going at it in their hometown and I think their styles will gel to make it a great fight. As a boxing fan you couldn’t wish for a better match up so I’m really looking forward to it. As regards picking a winner I think it’s just too close to call really so may the best man win.”

Woodhall is just as divided on the outcome of the fight. “I can’t split them and to be honest I don’t want to as I consider them both friends. It’s a cracking fight for the City and it’s a great time for boxing in Birmingham these days because you have so many good kids coming through.

“Boxing really is booming here at the minute and to have an all Birmingham clash of this quality speaks volume for the strength of boxing in the region. It’s a must win fight for both of them so I think it’s going to be a cracker but it’s impossible to pick a winner.”

“Champion Elcock and challenger Macklin will come face to face this Thursday for a press conference at the Sports Cafe in Birmingham from 12pm ahead of the bout with the war of words between both camps likely to re-ignite ahead of this weekend’s explosive showdown.

The “Battle of Brum” undercard also features undefeated heavyweight sensation, Tyson Fury who takes on experienced Lee Swaby in his fourth pro fight while Adnan Amar defends his English Welterweight title against Southern Area champ, Tom Glover in the chief support bout. Local prospects Chris Male, Quinton Hillocks and Callum Archer also feature. Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.


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