Rebel fired up to do the double

MIKE “The Rebel” Perez has not fought for more than a year but he will be doing some catching up at the UL Arena in Limerick on Saturday when fights twice on the undercard to the Andy Lee-Mamadou Thiam Yanjing Fight Night headliner.

Perez, who has been out of action with a damaged shoulder for the past 13 months, had a scheduled date with Tomas Mrazek from the Czech Republic who lost to Tyson Fury at the O2 last year.

Now, however, the former world junior champion will also open the show against Latvian Edgar Kalnars in a bout that was handed to him when newly-crowned Irish heavyweight champion, Colman Barrett, was forced to withdraw.

The Cork-based Cuban southpaw will be subjected to a medical examination immediately after this bout but that is unlikely to be a problem. With the exception of one contest when he was taken the distance, all his victories have been inside a round – 41 seconds on his last visit to the UL Arena.

“I think it’s a great idea and when Brian Peters suggested it I jumped at the opportunity because I have had over a year out of the ring so I am looking to keep as busy as possible now and it doesn’t get any better than having two fights in one night,” he said.

Peters, himself, believes that the Perez double adds further spice to Saturday night’s undercard, reflecting on the Cuban’s frustration at having to sit out the past year.

“Mike is champing at the bit because he has been out of the ring for so long and it’s been very frustrating for him,” he said.

“He’s an incredible raw talent and he wants to start fulfilling his potential and shake up the heavyweight division. Pulling off this feat on Saturday night will certainly cause a stir.

“Previously heavyweight legends such as Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and George Foreman have fought more than once on the same night but they were always only exhibition bouts.”

“We will still have eight bouts in total including what should be an explosive main event, an Irish title fight, Mike Perez fighting twice, Andy Murray, Luis Garcia taking on Alexander Sipos and fights featuring Paddy McDonagh and newcomer Alan Donnellan.”

Perez’s compatriot, Luis Garcia, will also be out to impress against Germany’s Alexander Sipos, a former European title challenger who gave Andy Lee a very decent argument at The O2 in Dublin last March.

Despite having had just five professional fights the 22-year-old super middleweight is already ranked in the world’s top 50 and has been described by many boxing insiders as a special talent and a future world champion.

But that’s some way down the road according to their new manager, Corkman Patrick Thomas.

“They are very happy at the moment,” he said. “Luis Garcia is very confident about this fight. He is really buzzing but very focused. Sipos is a good opponent but I would fancy Luis to beat this guy and go on to bigger things.”

Both Garcia and Perez can’t wait to get back into the ring after an absence of more than a year.

“I am very happy because I have a new manager and everything is flying at the moment,” Garcia said.

“My coach, Nicholas Cruz, is a good communicator. We have a very good relationship and that helps us a lot. He (Sipos) is a very good opponent but I feel good, I have a lot of confidence and I believe I am going to win.”

Meanwhile world and European lightweight champion, Katie Taylor, said she was devastated at having to withdraw from the show on account of a nose injury sustained in sparring last week. She was scheduled fight Ukrainian champion Oleksandra Sydorenko.

“I’m devastated that I won’t be able to fight,” she said. “I was so excited about fighting in Limerick and I was hoping against hope that the injury would have healed in time.

“I’m still going down to the fight and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to fight there in the future.”

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