McDonagh – Murray: A Lightweight affair not for the faint hearted

He won’t have Uri Geller in his corner this time but Peter McDonagh believes it will still be a case of mind over matter when he defends his Irish Lightweight title against Andrew Murray on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the National Stadium, Dublin on July 12th. Their ten round bout is one of two Irish title fights on the undercard to Bernard Dunne’s clash with Argentina’s Damian Marchiano. McDonagh though is hoping to steal the show by ruining Murray’s perfect record..

The last time McDonagh was in Dublin he caused a huge upset when with celebrity psychic Uri Geller in his corner he won the Irish title with a controversial win over Michael Gomez. This time round he’s dispensed with Geller’s services but he says he’s more confident than ever about his future prospects and believes a win over Murray will be a stepping stone to a European title shot.

“I’m just delighted that I have the opportunity to defend my title because I was getting very frustrated in my career,” said the London based Galway man. “Nobody wants to fight me but credit where it’s due to Andrew Murray for taking the fight. I’ve spent the last 18 months trying to fight the best lightweights in Britain but none of them are interested because they know I’m too dangerous.”

Murray though was only too happy to oblige McDonagh as he bids to add the Irish Lightweight belt to the Light Welterweight title which he already holds. The two men know each other well having sparred countless rounds in the past. McDonagh’s camp insists that their man broke Murray’s jaw in one session while Murray’s handlers insist that the Cavan’s man’s dominance in sparring almost convinced McDonagh to withdraw from the Gomez bout.

While the nature of the sparring sessions is disputed both men agree on one thing, their past meetings in the gym will count for very little when they step in the ring on July 12th.

“I don’t think that will have any bearing on it,” said Murray, a 3 time Irish amateur champion who is undefeated in his 12 professional outings to date. “Sparring is sparring but you can never read too much into it because it’s always different when you actually get in there on the night.”

Like Murray McDonagh has been forced into seeking action at light welterweight because of a lack of opportunities at lightweight. “It seems like since I beat Gomez all the lightweights in the UK have been running scared. I offered to fight all the top guys but none of them would have it so I ended up taking a European Union title fight in Italy earlier in the year at light welterweight against Guiseppe Lauri.

“It’s not my natural weight but I was doing quite well before I got stopped on a cut. The European Boxing Union told me afterwards that I was unlucky and if I can beat Murray they’ll give me a crack at the European Lightweight title. So that’s the prize for me now and it’s made me hungry again.”

Murray though is every bit as hungry and is relishing the opportunity to secure the biggest scalp of his career. “I was out of the ring for a bit last year and getting fed up with the sport but this year has been great so far, I’ve been kept busy and this is the kind of fight I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Peter is a respected name and a known quantity so a good win over him will really bring me on leaps and bounds.”

One man anxiously awaiting the result will be Oisin Fagan. The Dubliner also appears on the July 12th card and he’s hoping to be first in line for the winner. “Obviously I’ve to get through my own fight but all going well I’ll be changed and back out in time to watch the Murray and McDonagh scrap. It’s a tough one to call but if I had to pick a winner I’d go with Murray on points as I think he’s the better boxer of the two but McDonagh is a tough man and the more experienced so you couldn’t write him off.”

Fagan who has moved back to his native Dublin from the U.S. is currently training with John Breen in Belfast as he prepares for his own contest on the card.

The second Irish title bout on the July 12th Hunky Dorys Fight Night features Jim Rock as he bids to make history by becoming a four weight Irish Champion against Jonjo Finnegan.

Also set for action are Dubliners Ian Tims and Eugene Heagney and the anticipated return of big punching Belfastman Darren Corbett.

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night priced from €50 are available from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets.



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