Hunky Dorys Fight Night - No Olympic regrets for McCloskey

It might be Olympic year but Paul McCloskey says he has no regrets about making the decision to switch to the professional code. Unbeaten in his 3 year pro career McCloskey headlines the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the Letterkenny Leisure Complex on March 29th when he takes on former World Champion, Cesar Bazan.

The Dungiven southpaw just missed out on qualification for the last Olympics losing out on a contentious points decision when victory would have qualified him for Athens.

On that occasion Andy Lee was Irelandís sole Olympic representative but 4 years on Ireland will have at least two boxers at this summerís games in Beijing with both Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin having already secured Olympic berths. There is still one further qualifying tournament left giving Irelandís amateur one last chance at securing their plane ticket to China.

McCloskey knows all about the pressure of Olympic qualification having just missed out in 2004. In an interview with the soon to be relaunched McCloskey said, ďItís disappointing that I never got the opportunity to go to the Olympics but I could have hung about in the amateur game for another 4 years and still not have qualified for this years games. Thereís lot of politics in amateur boxing and I felt I won those qualifying bouts but the decisions didnít go my way.Ē

McCloskey, 28 continued, ďIf Iíd have waited until after Beijing to turn pro I would have been another 4 years older and the chances of turning pro and doing well would have been reasonably slim because obviously the older you are the harder it gets. It had been an ambition of mine to fight in the Olympics and I didnít get it but thatís water under the bridge and you canít dwell on the past.Ē

The Derrymanís sights are firmly focused on the future now and after a slow burning start to his pro career heís relishing the opportunity of headlining his first ever-professional fight night later this month.

McCloskey, who turned pro in March 0f 2003 said, ďFor those first couple of years I was slightly inactive through no fault of our own. But in the last year things have really picked up thanks to Brian Peters and heís really got the ball rolling for me.

ďThis time last year in Letterkenny I was fighting a journeyman and now Iím getting ready to fight a former world champion so Iíve come on quite a bit. But Iíve always felt I was ready for these kind of fights and it was just a matter of getting the opportunity.Ē

McCloskey will not have it easy though against former WBC lightweight kingpin Bazan who has twice as many knockout wins as McCloskey has had fight.

ďIíve looked at his record and itís one hell of record with 46 fights, 9 losses and one draw,Ē said McCloskey. ďOf the loses two of them were to Miguel Cotto and Jose Luis Castillo and theyíre the only 2 guys to have stopped him. A lot of his other defeats were on split decisions and heís knocked out 30 people so he clearly carries a bit of power in his hands. Iím going to be treating him with all the respect in the world and Iím training as if Iím fighting for a world title.Ē

The undercard for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night in Letterkenny features former World title challenger and British champion, Neil Sinclair, rising welterweight Stephen Haughian and Cuban heavyweight sensation Mike ďThe RebelĒ Perez.

Another bout sees Irish Light Middleweight champion Ciaran Healy in a 10 round clash with former British title challenger Steve Conway.

Tyrone professional Damian Taggart also features alongside top amateur Luke Wilton from Belfast who will be making his pro debut.

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night priced from Ä60 are on sale now from and all usual outlets.

Article posted on 05.03.2008

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