Dunne picks up preparations for title defence

WBA Super Bantamweight champion Bernard Dunne is leaving no stone unturned as he enters the final stages of preparations for his first World title defence at the O2 Arena later this month.

Dunne will put his title on the line against number one challenger Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym from Thailand when he headlines the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night on Saturday, September 26.

The Neilstown fighter began training for the bout in July and as each week goes by, he is cranking up the intensity of his work as he bids to see off the challenge of his Thai opponent.

Dunne has enlisted the help of some world class sparring partners to help him prepare for Poonsawat who has lost only once in 39 professional fights.

The latest arrival at the champion's training camp is 2008 Olympic silver medallist Khedafi Djelkhir.

The 25-year-old Frenchman joins world-rated Canadian Oliver Lontchi in Belfast with former Dunne opponent Cristian Faccio also due to renew acquaintances with his old foe.

Lontchi is coming off a defeat to Juan Manuel Lopez in June for the WBO World title, while Faccio has won three fights on the trot since his defeat to Dunne in Castlebar last November.

Djelkhir is another major addition to the camp given his hugely successful amateur career prior to switching to the pro ranks following last year's Olympics in Beijing.

Dunne's trainer Harry Hawkins believes the top quality sparring will pay dividends in the ring against Poonsawat.

"Djelkhir is an excellent little fighter and in terms of his physical attributes he's quite similar to Poonsawat so he should be good work for Bernard," said Hawkins.

"He was very impressive in the Olympics last year and he's expected to go on and do very big things in the pro ranks.

"Lontchi is very fast and has proved to be an excellent sparring partner as well and obviously we're very familiar with Faccio from his fight with Bernard last year."

Hawkins believes that Dunne is capable of improving on his sensational title winning effort over Ricardo Cordoba in March and he is been very pleased with the way his charge has gone about preparations for his first defence.

"Bernard is hungrier than ever right now and that's been reflected in his training for this fight," he added.

"It's one thing to win a World title but it's another thing to defend it and establish yourself as one of the very best and that's what Bernard wants to do.

"We're under no illusions, Poonsawat is a truly world class operator and all the other champions have being avoiding him but Bernard isn't interested in ducking anyone.

"He wants to prove he's the best and beating this guy will make another big statement."

The undercard for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight night continues to take shape with unbeaten Cavan star Andy Murray defending his European Union Lightweight title against former Italian champion Pasquale Di Silvio in the chief supporting contest.

A mouth-watering all-Irish clash between unbeaten Light Heavyweight prospects Jamie Power and Michael 'The Storm' Sweeney has been added to the undercard.

Reigning Irish Welterweight champion Stephen Haughian will also fight on the action-packed card, while two of Dublin's favourite fighting sons will also step between the ropes with current Irish and IBF International Featherweight champion Patrick Hyland and former Irish Lightweight champion Oisin Fagan featuring in separate bouts.

Hyland will face former Commonwealth title challenger David 'Silent Danger' Kiilu. Haughian and Fagan's opponents will be announced shortly.

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