Kiko Martinez’s stunning knockout defeat of the touted Bernard Dunne placed an unwelcome comma in the previously fluent progression of the popular super-Bantamweight and reminded his more eager supporters of the two dictums by which all careers should be governed. Firstly, hype is no substitute for hard rounds and secondly, one punch is all ‘it’ takes.
This isn’t to say Dunne hasn’t been sensibly matched; both Esham Pickering and Noel Wilders are excellent fighters the previously unbeaten European champion overcame in his run to Martinez. Nobody could foresee the demolition job executed by the Spanish fighter, although his record is now extended to 17. But it does prove press releases carry little weight once the bell rings and we’re all guilty of being hypnotised by publicity from time to time; if you hear how great something is often enough you begin to believe.
Few races or creeds embrace their fighters like the Irish, the fabric of their society tightly woven with confrontation, hard-ship and loyalty and it is upon these strands, and the passion for boxing they invoke, that several current contenders are building their careers. From lumbering big-man Kevin McBride to the vanquished Dunne, veteran McCullough and the middleweight contenders Andy Lee, Matthew Macklin and John Duddy, all know the value of playing the Irish card – no matter how far from the emerald isle they find themselves.
Next month’s clash between Duddy and the little known Pablo Navascues absorbs new meaning and promotional angles at it pits an Irishman against a Spaniard just weeks after Dunne shocking loss to Martinez, but represents only the second professional engagement the New York based Duddy’s has contested on Irish soil.
The second wave of the latest Spanish armada is set to hit Irish shores next month when Pablo Navascues (pictured left) looks to upset John Duddy’s European and World title ambitions. Navascues’ compatriot Kiko Martinez left Irish fight fans reeling with his smash and grab raid on Bernard Dunne last month and now its Duddy’s turn to repel the Spanish invasion.
The two men clash on the next Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the National Stadium, Dublin on Saturday, October 20th on the night of the “Celtic Tigers”. Duddy – Navascues will headline the event with support from Irish middleweight champion, Matthew Macklin and undefeated light welterweight Paul McCloskey. Navascues is the reigning Spanish light middleweight champion and has an excellent record of 25 wins and just one defeat. With 18 of his 25 wins coming via the short route he is clearly a major threat to the unbeaten Duddy. The Madrid’s native sole reversal came back in 2000 on a cuts defeat and his winning run since then has seen him surge into the European ratings.
The 31-year-old believes a win over Duddy could be his ticket to major title contention. Speaking from his training camp Navascues said, “I want to fight prestigious boxers like Duddy because I don’t have time to waste in my career. I would like to fight for a major title early next year and this fight can help to get me there.” Navascues has followed Duddy’s career Stateside but feels that his time on the European scene will be less fruitful. “Duddy is a good boxer with a lot of power in both hands. I admire what he has achieved in his career in the U.S. but Europe is different. Our records are similar and I’m sure that both of us will be at our best. I also think that our styles are quite similar and it will be an honour to beat him!”
The atmosphere at the National Stadium for Duddy’s Irish professional debut in July was white hot and it’s sure to be just as electric next month and Navascues is relishing the prospect. “My only fight abroad was in Russia a long time ago and I won that by a second round knockout. I actually enjoy fighting away because I don’t have the pressure of fighting in front of my own supporters.”
Navascues country man Kiko Martinez stunned Irish fight fans last month and he says Duddy could be in for a similar shock. “I think Kiko Martinez was lucky because Dunne is a good boxer with a great future. I plan on the same outcome as Martinez but I won’t need luck to do it, I will prove my ability against Duddy.”
Tickets for the “Celtic Tigers” Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the National Stadium, Dublin on October 20th are priced from €50 and are available from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets.
For more information about John Duddy go to www.irishropes.com
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