NEW YORK (November 27, 2007) – Veteran trainer Don Turner believes WBO No. 2 rated middleweight contender “Ireland’s” John Duddy (22-0, 17 KOs) will become his 21st world champion. First, though, Duddy has to get past former European champion and 2-time world title challenger Howard “The Battersea Bomber” Eastman (42-5, 35 KOs) on December 8 in the 10-round main event at King’s Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland..
Duddy, who hails from Derry (N. Ireland) but now lives in Queens (New York City), has been training in North Carolina under the guidance of Turner, whose former world champions include Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Aaron Pryor and Mike McCallum.
Turner has been in Duddy’s corner for his last two fights, victories by TKO against Alessio Furlan and Prince Arron, both in Dublin. Duddy’s improvement under Turner has become more evident, fight-by-fight, and figures to even more prominent against Eastman.
“John’s not getting hit as much,” Turner said about the area where John has improved the most. “He was a boxer before, as an amateur, but he got off track. It’s not like he didn’t do it (box) before he started getting hit. He’s gone back to doing what he did as an amateur boxer. Unless a fighter is a great one-punch guy who opponents fear, not getting hit is a matter of balance and leverage, as well as how his feet are planted and how to turn properly. The best way not to get hit is to hit a guy and put him on the defensive. That way he can’t counter punch. The great Ray Robinson never worked on defense because his offense was his defense. Now, John’s not getting hit as much.”
In 47 pro fights, Eastman has been only stopped only once, by powerful Edison Miranda. His other losses have been to world champions Bernard Hopkins, Arthur Abraham and William Joppy, as well as world title contender Wayne Elcock by close 12-round decision (116-113-, 115-113, 115-114) in his last fight on September 28.
“I know Howard Eastman and losing two world title shots is all that’s kept him from making real money,” Turner continued. “He’s going to bring his best to get back up there. Eastman is going to try to keep moving forward. John has to be aggressive, throwcombinations, and push Eastman back. That’s what John does best.
“If John Duddy takes care of himself, keeps his weight down, and behaves like a fighter should, he has the potential to be a world champion but it’s all up to him. I’ve had 20 world champions and John’s going to be my 21st.”
Duddy is on the verge of a major world title shot in 2008, provided he defeats his toughest opponent to date, Eastman. The popular Irishman also is rated No. 4 by the WBC, No. 7 by the WBA and No. 13 by the IBF.
“I have a good working relationship with Don Turner,” Duddy noted. “I’ve really enjoyed working with Don. I’ve learned a lot. I’m looking forward to fighting Howard Eastman, who is a dangerous customer. He has a great record, good experience and has been in against some of the best middleweights of his era. Hopefully, after fighting Eastman, the doors will be open for me to fight one of the top middleweights for the world title. But all I’m focused on right now is fighting Eastman and showing everybody how much I’ve improved training with Don.”
For more information about Irish Ropes Promotions or John Duddy go to www.irishropes.com.