Dunne out to erase trauma of Martinez defeat

CLOSE on eight months after being surrendering his European super bantamweight title Bernard Dunne bids to get his professional boxing career back on the rails when he takes on the former world champion Felix Machado at the Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar tonight.

The West of Ireland may be an unusual setting for his comeback appearance but the Dubliner only has one thing on his mind after the trauma inflicted upon him by Kiko Martinez last August.

The teak tough little Spaniard had Dunne on the floor three times before the referee stopped what was a mandatory title fight just 86 seconds into the first round making it the quickest European title fight finish in the division in history.

Dunne has had plenty of time to mull over that disaster and still finds it difficult to explain it.

“I was in the best shape of my life going into that fight, but I don’t know what happened,” he said.

“I just didn’t see that first right hand coming and the first thing I knew about it was when it hit me.

“I got caught by a swinging right hand and I never recovered from the first knockdown. The other two were largely immaterial. The first shot did all the damage, and there is no point in my making excuses or trying to blame anyone else.’’

While tonight’s fight is important in terms of a relaunch Martinez is the one he wants but the week after the Castlebar showdown was announced, Martinez, on his 22nd birthday, complicated the issue by losing his title and his undefeated record to Rendall Monroe in his hometown of Nottingham.

The 27-year-old Englishman, with just 14 fights on his card, had shown nothing to indicate that he could win a European title. He had not even won a British title and that grates with Dunne.

“If I’d done what I was told to do with Martinez — stay away from his right hand, move around and use my boxing skills — I would have done exactly what Monroe did to him,” he said. “I watched the fight and it proved one thing to me, that Martinez really is the one-trick pony that we’d suspected all along.

“Winning back the European title is a priority for me, so I’d love a crack at Munroe — but I’d still love the chance to fight Martinez again.’’

Venezuelan Machado is 35 years of age but he is a very experienced campaigner having spent most of career at the highest level so Dunne can’t afford to take any liberties tonight.

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