Limerick’s “Prizefighter” hero landed his dream fight as part of the deal done by Brian Peters when he won the purse bid to promote Saturday night’s European title double bill at the National Stadium.
The Meath businessman revealed yesterday that they had agreed European title challenges for both Casey and the Irish and EU super bantamweight champion, Paul Hyland who, incidentally, will appear on the undercard on November 6.
The European title shot comes less than two years and only 10 fights into Casey’s fledgling professional career – three were on the same night when he sensationally won the Prizefighter tournament after being brought in as a late replacement for the former world champion, Wayne McCullough.
He won the right to challenge for the European title last month when he defeated the Italian Emilio Salvini who was ranked No 9.
But Martinez stamped a health warning on the upcoming fight yesterday as he strutted the streets around St. John’s Castle with the European title belt hung over his shoulder.
“You are going to have to kill me to take my belt,” he told Casey. “It’s my belt, I won it and I am not going to give it away.”
Casey was already aware of the enormity of the task that lies ahead of him as he was watching when Martinez shocked the nation three years ago when he relieved Bernard Dunne of the belt in just 90 seconds.
Martinez subsequently lost the title to Rendall Munroe but his agent, Joe Forbes, said they should not have gone ahead with that fight as he was recovering from surgery for a stomach problem and it came too early.
“We saw a different side to Kiko on Saturday night,” he said. “He got very comfortable in there because Martirosyan was a little bit straight forward. Martinez got very relaxed in the ring on Saturday night but it will be a different story when he fights me. He won’t be so relaxed in there with me.
“The only thing that was missing on Saturday night was that bit of excitement and the only way he will generate that is if he fights an Irishman. I’ll provide that excitement.
“I have the best fans in the country and I have great respect for them. They keep asking when I will fight in Limerick again and I know they will come along in their droves because they know when they come to see me they are coming to see a good fight.”
Casey never takes more than three days off training after a fight – training in Limerick at the Our Lady of Lourdes/St Saviours boxing club where he began his career as an amateur under former national champion, Tony deLoughrey, Gerry Barry and Pa Dillon. He travels to Phil Sutcliffe’s gym in Crumlin to train for his pro fights and he will move there immediately in advance of this assignment.
“As everyone knows all the boxers at Crumlin boxing club box like pros,” his manager Don O’Leary said. “But we will be importing some very good spars from England to prepare.”
* The Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory will be televised live on RTE 2 and tickets go on sale on October 1 at Ticketmaster.ie/0818719300 and all the usual outlets.