Dunne takes on Texan for European showdown in Dublin

BERNARD DUNNE will box for the European super bantamweight title in Dublin next October or November his manager/promoter Brian Peters, confirmed yesterday.

The news that a 21-year-old up-and-coming Texan, David “El Finito” Martinez will take on Dunne at The National Stadium on June 3 took on a new dimension when Peters confirmed the European title fight.

“It’s on,” he insisted. “They would like an earlier date but with so much happening around Dublin in September with the All-Ireland finals and, of course, The Ryder Cup at the K Club, it just would not be practical to hold it then.”

With Dunne in action on June 3, the possibility of another fight at a European venue in August and the reigning European champion, Michael Hunter, facing a mandatory title defence against German Quatros tomorrow night, there are obviously some loose ends to be tied up.

“Money is not a factor,” Peters insisted. “It’s now just a matter of keeping things on track. The Hunter camp will be ringside for the June fight with Martinez.”

“It is part of the national progression,” said a confident Dunne. “I have gone through all the preliminaries. I have had a nice mix of opponents over the past couple of years and I feel I am ready now and I am confident. I want this fight and Dublin wants this fight.”

Martinez has lost just one of 17 professional fights and Peters said: “He is young, he is ambitious and he has made it clear that he is not crossing the Atlantic to be beaten.”

While he did not make it to Dublin for yesterday’s press conference he sent a message to Dunne: “Everyone knows I have the skills to outbox anyone but now I’ve proved I have a great chin. I’ve proved I can take pressure and that I can come back from a loss. Now I’m going to prove I’m a better fighter than Dunne.” Dunne’s fight will be the centrepiece of another two-hour feast of live boxing on RTE with Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock putting retirement on hold to box Lee Murtagh from Leeds for the vacant Irish middleweight title. If the Dubliner wins that he will hold three Irish titles — light middle, middle and super middle — and he has thrown down the gauntlet to John Duddy who is parading his talents in the US right now.

“I want to fight John Duddy,” he said dismissing age as a factor in such a confrontation.

“Look I have been sparring young guys in Belfast all week. Yesterday I sparred Jason McKay who has beaten Duddy as an amateur.”

He will put his Irish lightweight title on the line against Oisin Fagan, who has a fight tonight in the US where he is based. James Moore, the former world bronze medallist also boxing in the US, will box Kevin Phelan, while another former Irish amateur champion, Andrew Murray, also has a place on the bill as has the former European amateur champion, Paul Griffin.

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