Boxing

Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock on Dunne undercard

19.03.07 - Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock is set to rock the Point in Dublin again – over 11 years after he made his pro debut at the venue! Rock has stepped in at short notice to fight on the undercard of Bernard Dunne’s first European title defence at the Dockland’s venue this Sunday. The popular Dubliner was added to the card after both Matthew Macklin and Neil Sinclair were forced to pull out from their scheduled bouts due to injury..

Macklin suffered a rib injury in sparring which put paid to his Irish middleweight title fight with Jason McKay while Sinclair had to withdraw after rupturing a calf muscle while out running.

Rock though was ready, willing and able to step into the breach. “I had just started back training when the chance to fight on the show came up but I’m felling good and it will be great to fight at the Point again.”

Rock’s last appearance at the venue came on the undercard to the Steve Collins – Cornelius Carr world title fight back in November of 1995 so for Rock it’s a case of coming full circle.

“I was working for RTÉ at the Point last November and the atmosphere was fantastic so it will be great to fight there again.”

Rock hasn’t fought since his Irish middleweight title win over Kevin Phelan last June but he ridded himself of some of the ring rust last weekend during a five round exhibition with Olympic Champion Michael Carruth.

“I enjoyed it and felt good so that made my mind up to take a fight on the Point card. A win there will set me up nicely for another Irish title fight. I have three at the moment, the light middle, middle and super middleweight titles and I’d like to have a crack at the light heavyweight title and make it four. That would be a hard record to beat.”

The Irish middleweight scene is buzzing at the moment with the likes of Matthew Macklin, John Duddy and Andy Lee all building big reputations for themselves but Rock says he still feels he can be part of the middleweight mix.

“I watched the show from New York at the weekend with Duddy and Lee and I was impressed. They’re both exciting fighters. There was talk of me fighting Duddy last year and it didn’t happen but who knows maybe it can still happen during the summer. I think that would be a great fight.”

Promoter Brian Peters says he’s delighted to have added the “Pink Panther” to the card. “There’s great credit due to Jim though for stepping in at such short notice, he’s one of game true professionals and his fights never disappoint.

“It’s unfortunate that both Macklin and Sinclair had to pull out at such a late stage and I know that both guys are gutted not be to be fighting but these things happen in boxing from time to time.”

There’s a decidedly international feel to Sunday nights show – a total of eight different nations will be represented in the ring with some of Europe’s finest young talent on display.

Leading the charge is 6 foot 5 heavyweight Francesco Pianeta (pictured), an Italian with the looks and punch to make it big in the world of professional boxing. Based in Germany his numbers are very impressive, 8 fights, 8 wins and 7 ko’s.

He shares the same promotional camp as current WBA heavyweight champ, 7 foot 6 Nicolay Valuev and Pianeta has already sparred many rounds with the “Beast from the East”.

German boxing experts are already tipping Pianeta to go all the way and ultimately lift boxing’s biggest prize – the world heavyweight title. Irish fight fans will get a chance to judge his prospects for themselves this weekend.

Another hot continental prospect on the card is former Polish amateur star Lukasz Wawrzyczek. Like Pianeta Wawrzyczek is also undefeated and tipped for big things. Both men will feature in 8 round bouts at the Point.

There will be plenty of Irish talent on view too though with a pair of unbeaten light welterweights looking to impress. Lurgan’s Stephen Haughian and Belfasts’s Scott Jordan could be on a collision course but first they need to keep to winning ways on this weekend’s card.

Haughian could be in for a real test against Brighton’s Chill John who just last month floored another Irish prospect Paul McCloskey en route to a points defeat.

Jason McKay also looks to be in for a tough night. Following the withdrawal of Matthew Macklin McKay has been matched with Leeds dangerman Darren Rhodes and McKay can’t afford to slip up if he’s to keep his title ambitions alive.

The show will be live on RTÉ Two television and will also be available to a world-wide audience on www.rte.ie/sport from 9pm on Sunday evening.

Doors open at 5pm on Sunday with the first bout underway at 5.30pm.

Article posted on 20.03.2007



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