In an ironic twist of fate, Dunne’s former promoter and manager, Brian Peters, will promote Martinez on an historic card at the National Stadium on September 11 that will feature two European title fights, as Brian Magee defends his super middleweight title.
“If you told me that three years ago I would have wagered ‘The Wilton’ against it ever happening,” Peters admitted. “But I was approached by the Martinez team and it’s true, I will have a hand in Kiko.”
And even if Dunne is not tempted by the little Spaniard’s return to his own home patch, there are two other Irishmen waiting in the wings.
Talented Paul Hyland will feature on the undercard and Willie “Big Bang” Casey was also at yesterday’s press conference to highlight his presence on another Hunky Dory’s Fight Night special.
Martinez, who will fight Arsen Martirosyan, for the title on September 11, was not impressed. “I have beaten the best boxer in Ireland,” he said. “I will have no problem fighting them. I will fight the two of them on the same night. But I really hope Bernard comes back from retirement. That is the fight I would like again.”
He added: “We are looking forward to this fight. We love Ireland and the people always treated me well here, even after that,” he said.
And the “that”, he was referring to was the night back in August 2007 when it took him less than two minutes to strip Dunne of the European title in what was only his third defence of the crown.
Dunne went on to greater things after that — beating Ricardo Cordoba for the WBA world title in March of last year before going on to lose that title on his first defence to Poonsawat Kratingdaengym. However he always said he would relish a return match with Martinez.
Martinez’s agent Joe Forbes said they would have absolutely no problem with a Dunne return fight and they would even take it on in Dublin.
“We have established a very good working relationship with Brian Peters and we hope it lasts for a very long time,” he said. “There is a lot of boxing in Spain but nobody wants to pay for it. I was asked to come to speak with Brian and I thought he was the only one who could possibly do him (Martinez) justice.”
Rendall Munroe vacated the European title to challenge Toshiaki Nishioka for the WBC world super-bantamweight title at Tokyo’s Sumo Stadium on October 24 and that left the vacancy that has to be filled.
“With Munroe and Jason Booth both fighting for world titles there are opportunities there,” Peters said. “We have Paulie (Hyland) and Willie (Casey) standing here waiting in the wings and both of them are of European standard and Kiko would be a huge opportunity for either of them because two of the world governing bodies have him ranked No 10.
“As regards Bernard (Dunne) — who knows? Bernard has class and you never lose class and he is very disciplined so that he is never too far away from the action. I am around long enough to know you never say never.”
The Fighting Irishmen Exhibition in Croke Park provided an apt setting to announce details of the two European title fights — the first time for that to happen in Ireland and the first time for a European title fight to be staged at the National Stadium.
Brian Magee will defend his European super middleweight title against German-based Armenian, Roman Aramian, while Martinez will take on another Armenian, Arsen Martirosyan, who is based in France, for the vacant super bantamweight title.
The undercard is littered with talent and most of it homegrown. Dublin rivals Anthony Fitzgerald and Robbie Long will go head to head for the Irish super middleweight title while Irish super bantamweight champion, Paul Hyland, will feature alongside exciting Liffeyside talents, Gavin Prunty and Brendan Fitzgerald who makes his pro debut at light heavyweight under the guidance of four-weight Irish champion, Jim “The Pink Panther” Rock.
But the stars on the undercard could prove the Cork-based Cuban trio of Alexei Acosta, Mike Perez and Luis Garcia who are enjoying a new lease of life under new management.
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night, priced at €40, €75 and €100 go on sale this morning and will be available from Ticketmaster.ie at 0818 719300 or the National Stadium on 0872511772, the Ticket Office on 0868120135 or the boxers on the bill.