Casey in line for European title shot

WILLIE CASEY is first in line for a shot at the European super bantamweight title which Spaniard, Kiko Martinez, reclaimed with a points victory over Arsen Martirosyan at the National Stadium on Saturday night.

Casey’s manager, Ballyvourney businessman, Don O’Leary, confirmed that he hoped to finalise discussions with the Martinez team today and plans to make an announcement on a European title fight sooner rather than later.

“That’s the plan,” Willie Casey said. “We are hoping we will get a shot at him (Martinez) soon. Hopefully it will be this year. I did not see anything there that would scare me. That’s the thing with me – I don’t fear anyone.

“Most of his opponents fear him (Martinez) and that is why he is beating them. I am hoping that boxing an Irish opponent in Ireland will give it that bit of excitement that was missing Saturday night and I think the people would want to see that fight. They know his style – they know my style. It would be a great fight to watch.

“I am ranked No 9 in Europe and that makes me eligible for a shot at the title. Who’d imagine after only 10 fights as a pro – not even two years yet – that I would be here now talking of a European title fight. Paulie Hyland is there as well and one of us will get a shot at it. But I think my fight would be the more exciting.”

Dubliner Hyland who holds the Irish and European Union super bantamweight title highlighted his claims to a European title shot when he beat the experienced American, Robert DaLuz 79-74 to take his record to 18 wins with just one loss from his 19 professional fights.

Another of the top super bantamweights, Cork-based Cuban, Alexei Acosta, maintained his unbeaten record by stopping Oscar Chacin (Venezuela) two minutes into the sixth round of their eight-rounder.

Louis Garcia came back from holidays to turn in a stunning performance against another experienced American, Christian Cruz, who took three former world champions 10 and 12 rounds in his last three fights.

Garcia had him on the floor twice from powerful body shots before referee Emile Teidt stopped the fightless than two minutes into the third round. Anthony Fitzgerald retained his Irish super middleweight title in another thriller with fellow Dubliner Robbie Long. The champion came good in the last couple of rounds to win the approval of referee David Irving who scored the fight 94-96 to give him his second win over his Southside rival out of three meetings.

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