Paul McCloskey’s European title dream is still alive and well despite Souleymane M’baye’s withdrawl from their scheduled European Light Welterweight title fight at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magherafelt next Friday night (November 6th). McCloskey had been set to challenge the Frenchman for his European crown but a bicep injury has forced M’baye to withdraw from the bout and vacate the European title. However promoter Barry Hearn has moved quickly to secure a replacement in the shape of Spanish Champion, Daniel “Cobra” Rasilla who will now contest the vacant title with McCloskey in Magherafelt..
Hearn said, “M’baye’s withdrawl is unfortunate but ultimately Paul just wants to get his hands on the European title and he still has the opportunity to do just that in front of his own fans. Rasilla jumped at the chance when if was offered to him. He obviously sees this as a massive opportunity, he’s been in the gym training so making the weight will not be an issue for him and he’s promised that Irish eye’s won’t be smiling next Friday night.”
However McCloskey’s trainer John Breen says the late change in opponent won’t have any impact on his charge. “Paul’s very strong mentally so this won’t affect him. Remember he went in at a weeks notice himself to stop Colin Lynes to win the British title so this won’t bother him at all.
“Obviously it’s a no lose situation for Rasilla, he’s coming in to the fight the same way Paul did against Lynes so it’s a massive chance for him but Paul has trained long and hard for this and he’ll be ready for anything on the night. I’ve always believed that Paul’s a World class fighter and winning the European title will be just another step on the road to him proving that.”
McCloskey – Rasilla headlines an action packed night of championship boxing at the Meadowbank Sports Arena in Magerafelt. The undercard features a second title bout with Liverpool’s Steve Williams and Londoner Michael Grant contesting the English Light Welterweight title in a bout which will also double as an eliminator for the upcoming Light Welterweight Prizefighter event.
Belfast’ British Featherweight champion Martin Lindsay is also in action as he looks to stretch his perfect record to 15 straight wins. Fight fans will also get the opportunity to follow the progress of Barry McGuigan’s hot prospect, Carl Frampton. The 2009 Irish Senior Featherweight Champion turned pro in June and has already impressed in his two outings to date.
Liverpool’s “Dangerous” John Donnelly will also be in action as he builds towards a shot at the British bantamweight title while further local interest will come in the shape of Omagh’s popular light welterweight Damian Taggart. The card is rounded out by the professional debut of hard hitting Belfast heavyweight, David Hannah.
The event will be live on Sky Sports and tickets priced £30, £60 and £90 are available from Ticketmaster, all usual outlets and the boxers on the bill. Contact Ticketmaster 0844 8472455 (0818 719300 from ROI), Box Office 01277 359900, Julie 07745698372, Emma 07703723074, Francie 07803282224 or Eurospar 02877741245.
Barker ready to bite against “Mad Dog” Elcock
Undefeated middleweight “Dazzling” Darren Barker will finally get the chance to add the British title to his Commonwealth crown next month when he meets former champ, Wayne “Mad Dog” Elcock for the vacant British title.
The two men will clash live on ITV4 in the headline bout on a Hennessy Sports event at the Brentwood Centre in Essex on Saturday, November 28th.
Chelsea fanatic Barker has been left waiting for his chance at winning a Lonsdale belt ever since then champion Matthew Macklin vacated the title to challenge for European honours rather than face the unbeaten Barnet man.
“I’m over the moon to have a date and a name now to focus on,” said Barker. “To fight for the British title is a huge honour and it’s something I’ve dreamed of ever since I was a kid and to get my hands on a Lonsdale belt would definitely be a huge thing for me in my career.”
Over the years British boxing luminaries such as Howard Eastman, Herol Grahan, Alan Minter, Terry Downes and Ted “Kid” Lewis have all held the British Middleweight title. Birmingham puncher Elcock is another former Lonsdale belt holder who will be desperate to regain the title he lost earlier this year.
“Elcock will obviously be fired up for this one because it’s a big chance for him to get back on top again,” said Barker. “I’ve a lot of respect for him, he was a great British Champion, he’s beaten some good men and he’s challenged for the World title so you have to respect that kind of pedigree. With that being said I know what I’m capable of and I’m confident I can take the title next month.”
With the previous incumbent Matthew Macklin having gone on to win the European title Barker feels there is definitely unfinished business between the two. “Macklin’s done well to pick up the European title and that’s a fight I definitely want. I know 100% that I’d beat Macklin and I know I’ll prove that when I finally get in the ring with him.”
For now though Barker is fully focused on adding the Lonsdale belt to the Commonwealth title he has held for the past 2 years. “This is a very important fight for me. Once I get past this there should be an awful lot of routes open to me. There’s the European title but the World scene in general is wide open right now and I believe I’m fast approaching my prime.
“I look at some of the World Champions out there and I’d really fancy my chances against them but that’s all for the future. Right now I just need to keep my feet on the ground and focus on next month because I can’t afford to look past Wayne Elcock.”
The undercard for next month’s event at the Brentwood Centre will feature Colchester’s Lee Purdy defending his Southern Area Welterweight title against Wokingham’s Mark Douglas. Waltham Abbey middleweight Daniel “Mr. Slick” Cadman will also end a three year hiatus from the ring when he fights on the undercard alongside bouts featuring exciting light middleweight Yassine El Maachi and unbeaten prospects Bradley Evans, Bobby Ward, Phill Fury and Steve Barnes.
Tickets for the bout priced £30 and £80 go on sale tomorrow morning from the Ticketline box office on 0844 888 4402 or via www.ticketline.co.uk.