Physically primed, mentally focused, it’s just the matter of counting down the hours to fight night which can’t come quick enough as far as Anthony “The Pride” Fitzgerald is concerned.
The Dubliner has put in eight gruelling weeks of body punishing preparation and is both ready and confident in equal measure to set the record straight on route to becoming a two weight Irish champion against former foe Eamonn O Kane next Friday the 12th July at the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk.
Following a loss against the Dungiven brawler in their memorable Prizefighter clash fourteen months ago which Fitzgerald and many in attendance judged as an injustice, the “Pride” is hungry to leave those ringside in no doubt this time as to who is the better of the two come the end of their Irish middleweights title clash.
“That decision against Eamonn in Belfast really annoyed me. I’m not one for giving out, losing doesn’t frighten me. If I prepare properly and give it my best shot and things don’t go my way well that’s life”.
“But Eamonn did not beat me that night in Belfast, but I don’t believe I could have done anything that night to win that fight, I seen things that make me think not even a KO would have got me a win. This is not a personal grudge in anyway, Eamonn is a nice guy, but this is a wrong I will be putting right next Friday night”.
Just last year Fitzgerald’s career seemed directionless, floundering in a pit of inactivity that allowed him lose momentum following an exciting 2010-11 that seen the Northsider land Irish, WBF and EBU titles along with a world ranking.
But 2013 has seen the re-emergence of the father of two with an impressive display against world title challenger Andy Lee and a rejuvenated Fitzgerald is confident a win over O Kane will be another stepping stone towards bigger nights.
Opportunities inside the ring and changes outside have reignited Fitzgerald’s hunger for his trade and for those close to the no nonsense middleweight including coach and former two time Olympian Philip Sutcliffe there has been a noted change in Fitzer’s attitude.
“Things have really come together over the last couple of months in terms of our team and the personal we now have on board and this has had a real impact on Anthony.
“Anthony now has the supports required in terms of training and management and he has really responded, his whole attitude has improved, he is training better than he ever has, he is hungry to improve and is not allowing distractions get in his way”.
“We seen some of what Anthony is capable of against Andy Lee and I’m confident he will continue to improve. He is in the gym all the time so we have the time to work on improving his game. Anthony is as hard as they come, he has no fear and will fight any middleweight offered to him and as we continue to improve he will continue to surprise the doubters” said Sutcliffe.
But for now all eyes are focused on the Fairways Hotel next Friday in a contest that promises fight fans unquestionable value for their hard earned cash. If their three round Prizefighter humdinger is anything to gauge next weekend’s clash by, it’s odd-on to be a fight of the year contender.
Some tickets for the event that also features Fitzgerald’s gym-mate Philip Sutcliffe Jnr are still available from Stephen Sharpe 0879537526, Philip Sutcliffe 0879719193 or Crumlin Boxing Club.