By Brendan Galbraith – A boxing blockbuster is on the verge of being announced on St Patrick’s Day weekend in Ireland. Willie Casey’s (11-0) meteoric rise in the pro ranks continues at breakneck speed as he is on the verge of securing a WBA Interim Super Bantamweight Title fight against the Cuban Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (7-0) in front of 7000 fight fans at Millstreet, Cork, Ireland on the 19th March 2011.
In an interview with Rigondeaux’s, Irish manager and Cork native, Gary Hyde, it was confirmed to boxing247.com that the fight has been agreed by all parties, US television is in place as ESPN will cover it and beam it to 30 countries.. The last hurdle to seal the fight is to confirm television coverage from an Irish or British television station, with Sky Sports being the most likely option, at this stage.
Hyde said: “The negotiations are all done, we are just waiting on getting the nod from TV on this side of the Atlantic (Ireland). We have ESPN and ESPN are taking it to the States and 30 other countries. We are waiting on RTE or Sky, but Sky are the more likely and at the moment I would imagine Sky.”
If a deal is confirmed with Sky, it will likely be a co-promotion between Nowhere To Hyde Promotions, Dolphil Promotions and a promoter with a contract with Sky.
The fight at Millstreet evokes memories of the first Eubank v Collins fight, which was held in Millstreet almost 15 years to the date in which the Rigondeaux – Casey fight is scheduled.
The St Patrick’s weekend World title clash in Cork between Casey – a relentless pressure fighter and the formidable boxing skills of champion Rigondeaux is a huge fight for Irish boxing, and just rewards for the resilient and affable Gary Hyde.
An excited Gary Hyde said: “This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my fighters at home to my friends in Cork, like I have already done in the US, and of course it is a great opportunity for Casey as well who is a formidable opponent.”
“When we get the television sorted on this side of the Atlantic I will be bringing Rigondeaux back [for a press conference], if I don’t get him back for this coming Friday (10th December 2010 at the Dolphil show that features Casey-Sequera), it will be the following Friday (17th December 2010). I will get him over for a bit of ‘eye of the tiger stuff’ – not that that will faze the Big Bang!”
Hyde confirmed that Rigondeaux will still be based in the US for his training camp, but will be brought over to Ireland two weeks before the Casey fight.
Hyde also confirmed that he is very excited with his new Georgian signing, Levan Ghvamichava, who is working with Paul McCullough in Belfast and had top sparring with Paddy Gallagher (who out pointed Callum Smith to win Gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games). According to Hyde, “sparks were flying” between Gallagher and Ghvanichava in sparring this week.
Ghvanichava (who makes his pro debut in the Dolphil show in Dublin on 10th December 2010) will be on the Casey-Rigondeaux under card alongside talented Hyde fighters including, top prospect Mark Heffron. Co-promoter, Phil Sutcliffe will also have several of his top fighters on the under card. Hyde confirmed that there would be eleven fights on the proposed Casey-Rigondeaux card.
“The fact that Casey is such a strong character and he has had such tremendous year (winning Prize fighter and the European Title), he is strong enough to carry the show himself and we will have a fantastic under card. There will be proper fights, we will be looking for 45-55 or 60-40 fights on the under card, not 95-5 walkovers – that is not going to happen.”
It certainly makes sense for Sky to show the Casey-Rigondeaux World Title fight as Casey is well known through Ireland the UK, courtesy of his explosive winning appearance on Prize fighter. Rigondeaux won his world title fight against Ricardo Cordoba (Bernard Dunne’s old foe) on the under card of Pacquiao-Margarito – this fight was screened live on Sky and highlights of Mark Heffron’s last fight were shown on Sky. Hopefully, an announcement will be made soon.
*Willie Casey will be fighting in a Dophil Promotion at The National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin on Friday 10th December 2010. Also included on the card are Levan Ghvanichava, Freddie Roach-trained Dean ‘Irish Lightning’ Byrne, Anthony Fitzgerald, Gavin Prunty, Paddy McDonagh and JJ McDonagh.
Tickets for ‘The Pride’s Path to Glory are available from www.ticketgroup.ie and Crumlin Boxing Club on 087 2804380