After only 11 Professional fights and two years in the pro game Anthony ‘The Pride’ Fitzgerald takes on Englishman Kevin Hammond for the WBF Inter-Continental Title at The National Basketball Arena, Tallaght. Having won and successfully defended his Irish Title at Super-Middleweight, Fitzy moves to Middleweight – the weight where Head Coach Phil Sutcliffe believes he belongs. “Anto is a natural middleweight and also a strong middleweight at that. We’ve defended the Irish title against all who wanted a go and now we’re chasing Lee or Duddy at this weight”. For fight fans another Dublin v Limerick showdown could be on the cards in the near future but for Fitzgerald he refuses to be drawn on battles further afield and is focused on Hammond who stands in the way of claiming the WBF title. “Of course I want Lee and Duddy, I want to be testing myself against the best Irishmen in my division but that’s for another day.
Right now I’m not looking past my fight with Hammond; we’ve looked at some tapes of him and he’s a tough lad with a good bang too. I’m feeling in top form though, probably the best I’ve been in and that belt will not be leaving Dublin. Head coach Phil Sutcliffe is very happy with preparations for the title fight and believes Fitzy is on the road to big things. “Anto is looking excellent in the gym. He’s had the best of sparring for this fight with both the McDonaghs and Kenny Egan. The move to middleweight is perfect for him and he’s hitting harder then ever. I believe after this fight Fitzy will be on everybody’s lips, he is in great shape for Hammond who is not a bad boy either, he’s a tough lad and it’s going to make an excellent fight.
Talk of world title fights will be temporarily put on hold as Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey aims to make it twelve wins from twelve fights in the pro ranks as he takes on Manuel Sequera over eight rounds. The tough Spaniard who previously took Patrick Hyland the distance in the O2 last year has a dangerous 7KO’s from his 10 wins. “He has seven knockouts from ten wins so nothing will be taken for granted. I’m delighted to be returning to the ring so soon and hoping to finish the year with another win under my belt”.
Promoter Don O’Leary expects a night to remember for fight fans “Irelands newest European Champion Willie Casey is back in the ring and we expect another great show. Citywest was a resounding success in August and we expect more of the same with an even better card this time round”.
With Fitzgerald installed as the headline act attention on Friday will first turn to the two chief supports, announced last week as European Champion Willie Casey and LA based Dubliner Dean Byrne. In what has been tipped as one of the best small hall bills in the last decade in Ireland and fans are being reminded that a limited number of tickets remain for next weeks show and can be purchased from www.ticketgroup.ie.
Promoter Daniel Halpin explains what fight fans can expect on Dec 10th. “Firstly we have three of Ireland’s brightest prospects Anthony Fitzgerald (9-2), Deano Byrne (13-0) and EBU champ Willie Casey (11-0). We beat off stiff competition to sign the McDonagh brothers and both Paddy (3-0) and JJ (2-1) will be fighting on the night. Throw in Irelands only female pro Christina McMahon, Gavin ‘The Pimpernel’ Prunty, Tallaghts Robbie Long and debutants Paddy Ward and Noel O’Brien and you have one of the best cards in recent years. There will also be a full bar on the night for those who enjoy a drink also.”
For a division in need of a fighter with promise, the Heavyweight scene in Ireland braces itself for the next star in the making with Paddy Ward making his debut on the Dolphil show. “We wont be hanging around with Paddy let me tell you, this man is one of the hardest hitters this country has ever seen, left or right” said a buoyant Phil Sutcliffe. Astoundingly Team Dolphil predicts that Paddy Ward will be challenging Martin Rogan in only three fights time. “I’m not here to be hanging around, I want to see how far I can go in this game and would fight Rogan tomorrow” claimed Ward. Whether Rogan accepts the fight remains to be seen but Dolphil Promotions have high expectations for their new Heavyweight who will be introduced to fight fans Dec 10th in The National Basketball Arena, Tallaght.
Tickets available from www.ticketgroup.ie or crumlin boxing club on 087 280 4380