Sink or Swim time for Neil Sinclair

20.06.07 - Belfast’s Neil Sinclair knows he is drinking in the last chance saloon when he meets England’s “Fearless” Francis Jones at the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the Point, Dublin this Saturday..

The two men were originally scheduled to meet at the Point in March but big punching Sinclair had to withdraw with a calf injury. Sinclair, a former undefeated British Champion and World title challenger knows that this is a must win fight while Jones has said that he is already relishing the chance of adding Sinclair’s scalp to his record.

The Belfast man challenged for a World title back in 2000 and is determined to scale those heights again but Jones is standing in his way.

Sinclair said, “I know that a win against Jones will really get my career going again. It’s been a frustrating few years for me and it’s probably fair to say I’ve yet to fulfil my potential but I still feel fresh and still feel that I have a lot left to offer.”

Promoter Brian Peters says that this weekend’s contest will effectively double as a British title eliminator. “The winner of this fight will get a crack at the British title. Neil’s has obviously held that title before but I think if he can regain it that signals that he’s ready for a European or possibly even a World title fight. It’s a great incentive for Jones too though so it should make for a very interesting fight.”

The British welterweight title is currently held by Scotland’s Kevin Anderson a fighter Sinclair knows all about having seen him successfully defend the title recently against his fellow Belfast man, Eamonn Magee.

Sinclair however possess a real equaliser in the shape of a thunderous right hand that has accounted for most of his KO victims and earned him a reputation as one of the hardest punchers pound for pound in Europe.

After an excellent amateur career which included Commonwealth Gold and a Bronze medal at the World Junior championships “Sinky” turned professional in 1995. In December of 2000 he took on WBO welterweight champion, Daniel Santos in Sheffield but his World title bid ended in brave defeat having floored the champion in the opening round.

Within a year Sinclair had bounced back to win the British title and he successfully defended it three times to win a prestigious Lonsdale belt outright.

Shortly afterwards Sinclair vacated the British title to pursue World honours but long periods of inactivity and an unfortunate cuts defeat left him on the brink of retirement.

Even a stint in the U.S. failed to breathe new life into his career but a comeback win in Cork earlier this year has Sinclair believing that he can still fulfil his potential.

Jones though will have other ideas and the school teacher from Darlington is said to be fired up for the biggest fight of his career. “I’ve heard that he’s very confident about the fight but once the bell goes it will be just the two of us in the ring and it’s a different story then.”

Sinclair’s trainer John Breen said, “I’d put Neil Sinclair in with anyone in Europe right now. He’s the hardest puncher I’ve ever trained but he has loads of boxing ability as well. I genuinely believe Neil is a world class fighter and I think he will go on to prove that.

“I know people say all the time that training’s gone well but Neil has been sparring better than ever for this fight and I think we’ll see him back to the kind of form he was in when he was British champion.”

Another attraction on the card sees the return of Polish sensation Lukasz Wawrzyczek. The unbeaten Pole will be having his second successive fight at the Point having impressed on his Irish debut there in March.

This time Wawrzyczek goes up against Irish opposition in the shape of Belfast battler Ciaran Healy. Wawrzyczek will be looking to improve his perfect record to six straight wins but on home ground Healy will be hard to beat.

Meanwhile Dublin fight fans will get a chance to check out local prospect Patrick Hyland. The unbeaten Tallaght super featherweight has been out of the ring for over a year due to contractual difficulties but finally returns to action on Saturday night in a four round contest.

Patrick is one of three brothers boxing professionally. Younger brother Paul has recently relocated to New York to continue his pro career while the oldest of the three Eddie, fights in Belfast next weekend.

The remaining bout on the card sees Mayo heavyweight John Timlin have his first pro fight on Irish soil since returning home from New York. Trained by former world title challenger Sean Mannion Timlin is also part of a set of boxing brothers. His other brother Declan is unbeaten in three pro fights and will make his Irish debut on the John Duddy undercard at the National Stadium on July 14th.

This Saturday’s action packed card also features Irish light welterweight champion Oisin Fagan, the first ever Women’s professional fight in Ireland between Jill Emery and Angel McKenzie and of course the main event sees Bernard Dunne defend his European super bantamweight title against Reidar Walstad one of only eleven men to have defeated Bernard during a stellar amateur career.

The full line-up is:

Bernard Dunne V Reidar Walstad - European Super Bantamweight Title
Neil Sinclair V Francis Jones
Oisin Fagan V Chill John
Jill Emery V Angel McKenzie
Lukasz Wawrzyczek V Ciaran Healy
Patrick Hyland V Lajos Beller
John Timlin V Roland Horvath

Doors open at 7pm. Tickets priced from €60 are available from and Ticketmaster outlets.

RTÉ TWO’s live coverage of the event begins at 9.30pm. It will also be webcast on the RTÉ.ie website.

Article posted on 20.06.2007

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