UK News: Bernard Dunne; McGuigan Backs O'Donnell; Stephen Haughian

Newly crowned WBA World Super Bantamweight Champion Bernard Dunne has been named the boxer of the month for March by the World Boxing Association. The Dubliner was awarded the accolade after his sensational title winning performance against Ricardo Cordoba at The O2 in Dublin last month. Their six knockdown back and forth battle is already being put forward as a candidate for fight of the year on both sides of the Atlantic with Dunne who was a heavy betting underdog, emerging victorious with an eleventh round stoppage of the defending champion..

The news of the award came at the end of week that saw the new World Champion invited to Aras an Uachtaráin to meet with Irish President Mary McAleese at her official residence.

The President had extended the invitation to Dunne in a phone call to congratulate him on the night of the fight. President McAleese extended her congratulations to Bernard saying, “Bernard Dunne showed courage, skill and determination in winning like a true champion. This is a wonderful night for him and his family – one in which all of us can share.”

McGuigan backing O’Donnell to rip Commonwealth title from Watson

Former World Featherweight champ Barry McGuigan is tipping John O’Donnell to take the Commonwealth Welterweight title from Craig Watson in London tomorrow night.

McGuigan will be providing expert analysis from ringside for the eagerly anticipated clash which is live on ITV4 from 7.45pm. O’Donnell – Watson headlines a Hennessy Sports event at the York Hall, Bethnal Green with Lenny Daws and Peter McDonagh contesting the English Light Welterweight title on an undercard which also features heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury.

McGuigan admits that picking a winner in the main event is not an easy decision as he has been very impressed with both champion and challenger. Speaking to the Irishman said, “I think this is a great fight. It's a really lively clash between two fellows who are very determined.

“Watson is pretty durable, he’s a stiff hitter. A very capable southpaw who of course famously dropped Amir Khan when he fought him in the amateurs and it was a legitimate knockdown because he had Khan's legs doing a bit of a jig in that fight. More recently of course he beat Matthew Hatton and did so very convincingly I might add.”

“O'Donnell is a beautiful technician who by all accounts used to give Amir Khan nightmares when they used to spar on international duty. He was all over him back then apparently so that shows you just how talented this fella is. He has quick hands, moves well and has plenty of ring intelligence.”

McGuigan is predicting an exciting fight that will go into the later rounds. “Like most people I see this as a long fight. It will be about how executes their game plan best on the night. O'Donnell will be trying to use those quick hands of his, putting his punches together in clusters while it will be more singular punches from Watson I would imagine.

“I think it could turn into a really exciting battle. It looks like a distance fight but there isn't much in it and I wouldn't totally rule out either of these boys pulling out a stoppage win.”

While he envisages a close fight McGuigan is picking O’Donnell to emerge with the title. “If O'Donnell boxes like we know he can and crucially has respect for Watson then I can see him winning this. He has to be prepared for a long hard battle because Watson is a southpaw and he is awkward and it will take time to break him down.

“If he gets the distance right and boxes at a high tempo he can win this. That said I only make it a 55-45 fight in O'Donnell's favour however and it's a difficult fight to call with any degree of certainty given both men have been stopped in the past and both are so well matched.”

Click here to read McGuigan’s full views on the card:

Watson V O’Donnell headlines a fantastic line-up of championship boxing at the York Hall. In the chief support bout Lenny Daws meets Peter McDonagh for the English Light Welterweight title while heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury will look to make it five wins from five against “Magic” Matthew Ellis. Hot prospect Bradley Evans, Wembley’s Steve O’Meara and Irish Welterweight Champ Stephen Haughian also feature on the undercard. Tickets are available from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via

Haughian on scouting mission in London

Newly crowned Irish Welterweight champ Stephen Haughian takes to the ring at the York Hall in London this weekend on the undercard to the Commonwealth title clash between Craig Watson and John O’Donnell.

The Lurgan man takes on Drew Cambell on the Hennessy Sports promotion which is being televised on ITV4 from 7:45. Should he come through his own fight unscathed Haughian will be a very interested spectator for the main event as he looks to press his claims for a shot at the winner.

Haughian claimed the Irish title in February with an impressive third round stoppage win over defending champ Billy Walsh and his trainer John Breen believes he’s ready for the winner of tomorrow nights fight.

“Stephen’s improving and maturing with every fight and I think he’s proved in his last couple of fights that he’s ready for a shot at the Commonwealth title,” said Breen.

Prior to defeating Walsh Haughian had avenged the only defeat of his 18 fight pro career when he comprehensively outpointed Giammario Grassellini to banish the memory of his controversial split decision points loss to the Italian for his IBF Inter Continental title in December of 2007.

Breen is tipping the Galway born O’Donnell to take the title from Watson in tomorrow night’s main event and set up an all Irish showdown with Haughian later in the year.

“John and Stephen have fought on the same card over here on three occasions, in Dublin, Limerick and Castlebar so they have both seen plenty of each other. O’Donnell’s a good boxer with fast hands and good movement but I believe Stephen would have too much for him.”

Article posted on 10.04.2009

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