Martin Rogan is aiming to become Ireland’s second heavyweight world champion – more than 100 years after the last man to hold the greatest prize in boxing. And he says victory over Matt Skelton later this month will put him on course to achieve his dream. The 37-year-old from Belfast will face Skelton at the N.I.A IN Birmingham, on February 28. Having ended the career of Audley Harrison in December when he beat the Olympic gold medallist over 10 rounds, Rogan is looking to repeat the trick against Skelton..
And “The Entertainer” believes that a spectacular win over the Commonwealth heavyweight champion will allow him to gatecrash the world scene.
“It’s everyone’s dream when they are growing up to become heavyweight champion of the world,” said Rogan.
“Harrison was being talked up as a possible world title contender and I beat him. Now everyone is doing the same with Skelton. Both of them said that I was a stepping stone for their world title ambitions, but I’m a stepping stone for no one.
“Skelton is a great fighter and it’s not going to be easy, but I will go in there believing I will win, and if I do defeat him, then why shouldn’t I be thinking about becoming a world champion.
“And you know what – I don’t think this a tougher fight than Harrison.
“Harrison had a lot more class and boxing ability than Skelton. I’ve got a lot of respect for Matt and he’s going to rough and tough, but to be honest that suits me down to the ground, more than fighting someone like Harrison.
“I’ve got a great team behind me in John Breen and Eamonn Magee, and it’s going to be about whose game plan is best, and I believe mine will be.”
Rogan, 11-0 with five stoppages, doesn’t have history on his side in his quest for world glory.
But there has been an Irish heavyweight champion before – in 1895, Peter Maher was awarded the title by retired champion Jim Corbett after beating Steve O’Donnell.
He lost the crown in his first defence against Bob Fitzsimmons.
“We’ve not had a great history of heavyweights in Ireland, and I must admit I’d not heard of Peter Maher before,” said Rogan.
“But I know I’ve the got the tools to get to the very top and finally put Ireland on the map as far as us big men are concerned. We’ve had lots of great fighters at lighter weights in the past, but now the heavyweights are coming!
“I’m so confident after the Harrison victory. I’ve had a great training camp and I’ve been sparring with some good, big heavyweights in Northern Ireland and the south, everything has been spot on.”
Tickets, priced at £30, £50, £100 and £150, are available from: Ticket Factory 0844 338 8000
Packed Undercard Supports Munroe vs. Martinez Rematch
A solid round of support bouts has been added to the hotly anticipated European super bantamweight title rematch between reigning champion Rendall Munroe and Kiko Martinez set for the Metrodome in Barnsley, England on Friday, February 27.
Ajose Olusegun defends his Commonwealth light welter title against Scott Haywood, Gary Buckland and Craig Docherty clash for the vacant Celtic lightweight crown while super feather prospects Gary Sykes and Craig Johnson meet in an important crossroads contest and 2008 Olympic Bronze Medallist Tony Jeffries makes his professional debut at light heavyweight.
But it is in the lower profile undercard fights where some of the most intense action of the evening could take place as the drive to rise above the pack produces tremendous clashes of will.
Middleweight Kevin Concepcion, 14-1 (3), of Leicester continues to march down the comeback trail following his defeat to difficult southpaw spoiler Yassine El Maachi last year and has the momentum of a good win over Paul Dyer in December.
But “The Panther” must be on form if he is to get past Sheffield slugger “Smokin” Jezz Wilson, 5-0 (4), a red-hot knockout artist coming off a second round destruction of Manoocha Salari last summer, as the pair go at it in a scheduled six rounder.
Undefeated light welter Jamie Way, 8-0 (1), fought his way out of Wales with an International Masters title winning effort against Ali Wyatt in October but the Abercarne stylist knows he’ll be headed back to small hall shows there if he doesn’t turn back the ambitions of iron-chinned Derby man Dave “Rocky” Ryan, 7-1 (1), who has only come up short against welterweight Scott Woolford, losing by a single point in 2007.
It’s Lancashire vs. Yorkshire as two popular prospects, Stuart McFadyen and Ross Burkinshaw, face off in a six round smoker at bantamweight. Stocky Colne based McFadyen, 11-1 (1), will come down from featherweight after four impressive wins last year but “The Burnley Banger” will have to get past the quick hands of flashy Sheffield boxer Ross “The Boss” Burkinshaw, 5-1-1 (3), who’s only loss came from a shoulder injury.
Two four round bouts are also on the bill as towering Huddersfield light welter Tyrone Nurse, 5-0 (0), looks to keep a perfect record when he goes up against durable Coventry veteran Baz Carey, 11-39-4 (3), and Derby flyweight Usman Ahmed, 4-1-1 (0), will be going for his fifth straight win when he meets Birkenhead’s David Keogan, 0-5 (0).
Irish super bantamweight champion Paul Hyland, 13-1 (4), is scheduled to appear in a six rounder against an opponent yet to be determined.
Frank Maloney Promotions presents Rendall Munroe vs. Kiko Martinez for the Super Bantamweight Championship of Europe with full supporting undercard at the Metrodome in Barnsley, England on Friday, February 27, 2009.
Tickets are priced at £75 and £35 and are available by logging onto www.frankmaloney.com or by calling the Box Office at 0871 226 1508.
Sky Sports will televise the action live on SS1 starting at 10PM.
Cotto vs Jennings on Setanta
Setanta Sports have reached agreement with Sports Network to secure the rights for Michael Jennings’s WBO world welterweight title bout with Miguel Cotto.
The bout is due to be screen on Setanta Sports 2 at 3am on Sunday morning, followed by the Pavlik-Rubio fight, which is being held in Youngstown, Ohio.