All three Cork-based Cubans, Alexei Acosta (10-0 with 10 KO’s), Luis Garcia, (6-0 with 4 KO’s) and Mike Perez (10-0 with 8 KO’s) put their unbeaten records on the line tonight along with unbeaten Irish prospects Andy Murray (19-0 with 10 KO’s), Willie “Big Bang” Casey (8-0 with 5 KO’s) and Cork’s own Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (10-0 with 6 KO’s).
Perez made a bit of boxing history with short route victories over Tomas Mrazek and Edgars Kalnars on the undercard to the Andy Lee-Mamadou Thiam fight in Limerick last month in the back-to-back fights which took just eight and a half minutes in total.
“I would like to see this fight go a few rounds,” he said. “I have not watched my opponent but he has been around a bit. We’ll see.”
Barnett, who tipped the scales at 15 st 12 lbs 9 ozs at yesterday’s weigh-in at the CX Oriental Cash and Carry at Tramore Road, was more specific.
“Two weeks ago I was called and asked if I wanted to take this fight and I was interested in coming to Ireland so I was excited about it,” he said.
“Back in March I fought Erik Leander, he was undefeated, and I knocked him out in the second round. I have the same plan with Mike.
“I have watched a couple of videos. He (Perez) is a southpaw and that’s all I have been sparring with. Both of my sparring partners are southpaws so I feel like I’m ready for it.
“I didn’t come to Ireland just to lose. I came to Ireland to take a victory and take that back to the United States.
“I feel ready. I can do eight rounds if I have to. I was supposed to fight in June but an injury in May forced me out of that fight. I’ve been in the gym, in training, so I’m ready for this.”
Before knocking out Leander he ended the unbeaten run of John Poole and previous opponents also include the former British Olympic champion and current European heavyweight champion, Audley Harrison.
Super middleweight Luis Garcia has been keeping busy. Since his comeback victory over former Andy Lee opponent, Alexander Sipos, on the Lee undercard in Limerick he beat Welsh hard man, Nathan King, at The King’s Hall in Belfast two weeks ago.
He, too, meets an American, Demetrius Davis, who ended the unbeaten run of German prospect, Arthur Hein, last month and promises to do the same for Garcia.
“Since coming back from Germany I haven’t been out of the gym and I’ve been in training sparring the WBA light heavyweight champion, Bebit Shumenov, for this fight,” he said.
“They say Garcia is the next big thing but I heard the same stuff about Arthur Hein in Germany and I gave that boy a beating. I’ve ended fighters’ unbeaten records before and that’s what I plan on doing again in Cork.”
Garcia admitted yesterday that he had not watched Davis on tape in advance of this assignment.
“I know the kind of shape I am in myself and that’s what I care about. I have a gameplan that I intend to follow and it’s up to Davis to upset that if he can. I do not worry about him.”
Flight delays from France meant that Alexei Acosta’s opponent, Said Chichti, Andy Murray’s opponent, Laszio Robert Balogh, and Willie “Big Bang” Casey’s opponent, Faycal Messaoudene, were late for yesterday’s formal weigh-in.
“Normally when you come to the weigh-in you get to see your opponent and you get to size him up and whatever and it takes that little bit of pressure off you so, it was disappointing,” Casey said. The Limerick super bantamweight is enjoying his newfound fame since his big Prizefighter win which was televised on SKY.
“It’s crazy at the moment,” he said. “Schools, clubs, papers — every time I open up a paper my face is on it.
“Prizefighter was just the beginning and this is about me getting back into my comfort zone again. In Prizefighter you go all out and you go wild, throwing punches left, right and centre.”
Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan will be making his first ring appearance since beating Ciaran Healy for the Irish middleweight title last December when he takes on Sylvain Touzet from France tonight.
O’Sullivan had to shed 20 lbs in 27 days to weigh-in at 11 st 2 lbs for the fight.