Martinez backpedals ahead of showdown

THE VERBAL salvo launched by the David Martinez camp during the week was off target, and Martinez himself was the first to admit it when he weighed in alongside Bernard Dunne at the Plaza Hotel in Tallaght last evening in advance of tonight’s super bantamweight showdown at the National Stadium.

During the week Lennie Fresqez, who promotes ‘Il Finito’, said Dunne was “a nothing who had done nothing and would never do anything”, leaving Dunne to promise that he would settle everything in the ring tonight.

But tensions were eased considerably at the weigh-in, with Martinez in an apologetic mood, insisting that he had nothing but the highest respect for the Dubliner.

“I have never disrespected an opponent in my life,” he said, disassociating himself from his promoter’s remarks. “I respect all my opponents, I have only the highest respect for Bernard Dunne and I have never called anybody a bum in my life.”

Dunne, comfortable at super bantamweight, weighed 8st 11lbs 6oz with Martinez just three ounces lighter.

While Dunne appreciated the retraction, he insisted he will still be going for going for a knockout.

“I realise that David Martinez is fit, he is young and he has a lot of ambition and I can identify with that because I, too, have been there,” he said. “He has fast hands, he can box and he can move and we expect that he will present us with a whole new set of problems but we are talking about the first four or five rounds here and we have prepared for that,” he said.

“While I am prepared to go the whole distance if need be, I will be going for a knockout. This is a very important fight for both of us.”

Dunne, who holds the IBC World Super Bantamweight title, will be going for his 21st straight win as an amateur and his fifth at the National Stadium.

Kevin Phelan looks very likely to be drafted in to face Jim Rock for the vacant Irish middleweight title it has been announced.

Rock had been due to meet Lee Murtagh this evening but following complications at yesterdays weigh-in, Leeds based Murtagh pulled out.

James Moore, three times national senior amateur champion, will make his a professional debut at the National Stadium following six wins in the New York area while former European amateur featherweight champion Paul Griffin and Andrew Murray from Cavan will also be featured.

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