Historic event offers Egan Olympic rematch

KENNY EGAN could renew rivalry with China’s Zhang Ziaoping on the undercard to the Bernard Dunne-Ricardo Cordoba world title fight at The O2 on March 21.

Promoter Brian Peters revealed at yesterday’s press conference that the IABA are working on the mouth watering prospect of an Olympic light heavyweight final rematch and Egan said he would relish the opportunity to set the record straight before his home crowd at The O2.

In a historic deal struck by Brian Peters with the Boxing Union of Ireland (BUI) and the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) both professionals and amateurs will feature on the same bill for the first time.

As a result the Hunky Dorys Fight Night has officially become the biggest event in Irish boxing history featuring Kenny Egan, world and European lightweight champion Katie Taylor, Olympic bronze medallist Paddy Barnes and world junior lightweight champion Ray Moylette.

Headlining the event is the WBA World Super Bantamweight title fight, with Dubliner Bernard Dunne challenging Panama’s Ricardo Cordoba.

Jim ‘The Pink Panther’ Rock will return to the ring to share in the glory, while red-hot Cavan prospect, Andy Murray will also be battling for a share of the spotlight.

“We have the first world title fight in Dublin in 13 years with a Dubliner getting to challenge for the belt in his hometown for the first time ever,” said Peters.

“Then, when you add some of the biggest achievers in Irish amateur boxing like Kenny Egan, Katie Taylor, Paddy Barnes, Ray Moylette and top pros like Jim Rock and Andy Murray, you have a recipe for a historic night.”

IABA president Dominic O’Rourke has always been pressing for a greater profile for the sport he has graced at the highest level both as an administrator and successful coach to the St. Michael’s Club in Athy.

“We’re very happy to be part of this exciting event at The O2,” he said.

And BUI president Mel Christle was also excited.

“This brings the promotion of Irish boxing to a new level,” he said.

But Olympic silver medallist Kenny Egan was the most excited man at The O2 yesterday as he reflected on what turned out to be one of the most talked about fights in the history of Irish amateur boxing and the prospect of a rematch.

“I’m keeping my fingers, toes and everything else crossed that it comes off. The offer is out there for him so, hopefully, he’ll accept,” the Dublin southpaw said.

“There’s no bad blood between us. He beat me in the Olympic final and he has the gold medal, I’ve no problem with that. But it certainly would be nice to have another shot at him on home ground.”

Jim Rock has been talking about retirement for many years now but, in between those bouts of nostalgia, he has become a four weight Irish champion and is looking forward to his fight with Italian Alessio Furlin on March 21.

“I’m not going to cry wolf anymore and say that this will be my last fight, although it would be the perfect way to end my career,” said Rock, who will be 37 on March 12.

The event will be all new to unbeaten lightweight Andy Murray with the Cavan man yet to step foot in the new O2.

“I’m actually going to a gig there next month so I’ll get a taste of it then. But, for the moment, I’m just focusing on my fight in Craigavon this weekend,” he said.

lTickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and are available from Ticketmaster (phone 0818 719 300, visit ticketmaster.ie or outlets nationwide.

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