Big Bang’s next outing in Cork

WILLIE ‘BIG BANG’ CASEY will headline a big professional boxing show at Neptune Stadium, Cork, in January.

Don O’Leary, who heads up DolPhil Promotions along with Casey’s trainer, Philip Sutcliffe, said the newly crowned European super bantamweight champion will have his next fight on Leeside on January 29.

“Willie wants to come back to Cork,” the Ballyvourney businessman said. “While it won’t be a title defence, I am sure the Cork fans will give him a huge reception when he arrives with the belt.

“It appears as if the Kiko Martinez fight, which now becomes a mandatory defence, won’t take place before next March.

“Last Saturday night was a great occasion for Munster and for Irish boxing in general. The atmosphere was mighty.

“We knew Willie was going to win this one. Even the EBU official in charge, Stanley Clough, said in all his time officiating at more than 120 contests he had never seen anyone more determined than Willie before the fight.

“Willie’s preparations were just awesome. He moved in with his strength and conditioning coach, Joe Clifford, and Joe’s parents just adopted him – in fact they were crying when he was leaving.

“In the weeks leading up to the fight he was out running and cycling with Joe every morning, worked hard during the day with Phil and the team and, in all, he must have sparred more than 170 rounds.

“In fairness to Paulie (Hyland) and his father, Paddy, they took it very well. Paulie is a fine boxer, talented and skilful, and he comes from a proud boxing family who are great ambassadors for the sport.

“But, at the end of the third round, we knew he was not going to last another round. He had already shipped a lot of big shots at that point and Willie was still coming on strong.

“Willie has come a long way since making his debut on our first show in Killarney in October 2008. They say he has been boxing as a pro for two years but that is not entirely the case. He was inactive for six months after the unexpected death of his brother. That was very upsetting for all the family.

“He can be proud of his achievement on Saturday night and he can be proud of the way the people of Southill turned out to support him.”

Promoter Brian Peters said Willie Casey’s story was inspirational. “To see where he has come from and he is European champion, it is fairytale stuff. These are moments you will remember for the rest of your days,” he said.

Willie Casey, with the help of Philip Sutcliffe who is a former two-time European bronze medallist, and Don O’Leary, has put a very good team in place. “Phil Sutcliffe saw me as an amateur and he persuaded me that the amateurs were not for me and that it’s in the pro game I should be,” he said. “Just a week after I turned pro he told me he would make me a European champion within three years. Here I am today, two years in the game, only 11 fights and I am European champion.

“I am very grateful to Kiko (Martinez) for relinquishing the belt to give myself and Paulie the opportunity to go at it. People have been asking when we were going to go at it for the Irish title but I think this was the title to go for.

“A big thanks to Brian Peters for getting it on and everyone that made it possible. I hope it’s not the end for Paulie because Paulie has so much skill and so much talent. We all saw what Bernard Dunne did after getting beaten by Kiko – he came back and he beat Cordoba for the world title. I believe Paulie can do the same.”

He said it was brave of Hyland to fight him in his own backyard for the title.

“I don’t think where the fight took place was really an issue,” Phil Sutcliffe said. “I don’t think the venue mattered. The outcome of the contest was all that mattered.

“It was the best four rounds I have seen in Irish boxing. When we beat Kiko we’ll be happy to give Paulie another shot and we’ll have no problem fighting him in his backyard this time.”

Picture: Willie Casey celebrates with his family after victory over Paul Hyland in their European Super Bantamweight title bout (Sportsfile).

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