The white hot atmosphere at the King’s Hall in Belfast should be at it’s best for the upcoming Yanjing Beer Fight Night on Friday week (June 11th) when Paul McCloskey makes the first defence of his European Light Welterweight title against mandatory challenger Giuseppe Lauri but one boxer on the card should be cooler than most. Despite facing the biggest test of his career Lurgan welterweight Stephen Haughian has literally walked on hot coals to prepare for his Celtic title clash with former British champ Kevin McIntyre..
Haughian has been pushing his body to it’s physical limits with punishing sessions at trainer John Breen’s gym and with leading strength and conditioning coach Mike McGurn but he has also employed the services of a mind coach ahead of what he says is the fight of his life.
The 25-year-old has been working with Steve McGeown on gmind technologyh in preparation for the fight with sessions that have included walking barefoot across hot coals reaching temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit!
gIt’s an area called mind technology and there is a lot of stuff I’ve been working on with Steve but the firewalking is the thing that interests most people!h explained Haughian. gIt was a bit of a shock to the system at first but that’s part of the reasoning behind doing it. It’s all about re-programming your mind and getting into your sub conscious mind so that mentally you’re prepared for anything.
gYou need to be in the right state of mind doing it because obviously there is a risk of being burned but as long as keep focused on the goal of getting through it and to the other side then you will be ok. It’s all shown me the power of the mind and how your mind is capable of controlling what you are able to do physically.
Haughian has also been pushing himself to the limit in strength and conditioning sessions with Mike McGurn who was brought on board by Bernard Dunne ahead of his sensational World title win over Ricardo Cordoba in Dublin last year.
gWorking with Mike has been fantastic. Obviously from working with Bernard he has developed a sports specific plan and I’ve found it fantastic. The sessions have been short and sharp with the recovery times based around a fight so you tend to work flat out for three minutes and then take a minutes rest and I’ve really been finding the benefits of it.h
gI’m basically looking at this as the biggest fight of my career. McIntyre’s held the British title so he’s a big name in that sense and he’s a good scalp so I know that a win will put me right in the frame for the British title. I’ve been a pro for just over 5 years so it’s time for me to push on. I’m chomping at the bit for big fights now and McIntyre is a really good test for me.h
On his last appearance at The King’s Hall Haughian suffered the only defeat of his 20 fight career to date when he dropped a contentious split decision to Giamario Grassellini for the IBF Intercontinental title in 2007. gI think the two judges who voted for him were the only people in The King’s Hall who thought he won that fight,h said Haughian who went on to avenge that defeat the following year.
gI know that this time I can’t afford to leave anything to chance so if at all possible I’ll be looking to take the decision out of the judges hands this time around.h
The main event at the King’s Hall sees Paul McCloskey making the first defence of his European Light Welterweight title against Giuseppe Lauri while Haughian’s clash with McIntyre heads an action packed undercard.
Cavan’s Andy Murray also features as the undefeated European number 3 looks to take another step close to a European title fight with namesake, John Murray. Rising Belfast star Carl Frampton will get a chance to fight in his hometown for the first time as a pro. The Barry McGuigan managed super bantamweight is unbeaten in his first 5 professional outings and tipped for for big things in the paid ranks.
Another exciting new Belfast talent out to extend his unbeaten record at the King’s Hall will be flyweight Jamie Conlan while Cuban sensation Alexei Acosta will also feature as he looks to continue a incredible knockout streak that has seen him stop all 10 of his professional opponents to date. Acosta, a World Junior Champion in the amateur ranks is now based in Cork having turned professional in 2008.
Local middleweight duo Joe Rea and Ciaran Healy have also been added to the card with the pair looking to end the unbeaten records of Kris Carslaw and Harry Matthews respectively.
The Yanjing Beer Fight Night will be live on Sky Sports and tickets priced ’30, ’60 and ’90 are available from Ticketmaster and all usual outlets. Contact Ticketmaster 0844 8472455 (0818 719300 from ROI), Box Office 01277 359900, Julie 07745698372, Francie 07803282224.
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