Rigondeaux to spar in Cork ahead of ‘Big Bang’ bout

GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX will complete his preparations for his world title defence against Willie “Big Bang” Casey at a special training camp in Cork.

The two-time Olympic champion arrives in Cork on March 7 and his manager, Gary Hyde, will set up a training camp at the Montenotte Hotel. Rigondeaux met Cork fans at the venue a couple of weeks ago and hundreds turned up to watch a light training session.

It was then Rigondeaux asked Hyde to set up his training camp in the same room and the Corkman has obliged.

“It will be Guillermo’s last big training week before the March 19 fight,” Hyde said. “He will be accompanied by his trainer Ronnie Shields and conditioning coach, Brian Cauldwell.

“We are also bringing in two sparring partners, one from France and one from Italy. He has been going through sparring partners at a terrible rate back in Houston so, this time, we are bringing in two lightweights to give him some ring time. He was sparring featherweights last week and he just blasted his way through them.

Katie Taylor sparred with Rigondeaux while he was in Limerick.

“It was great for her just be in there with him,” her father and coach, Pete, said. “She enjoyed it and it was on YouTube for a while. He also invited her back to his training camp in Cork. He is absolutely brilliant — like a ghost — one second he’s there and the next he’s gone. Willie has a tough night ahead of him.”

Meanwhile Katie leaves today for an Olympic ranking tournament for seeding for next year’s world championships which is the only Olympic qualification tournament. The championships take place in China next March. The top 16 in the world in each of the Olympic divisions will be taking part in this tournament.

The three time world champion had been entered for the Elite national championships but her opponent for Saturday’s finals did not weigh in at the weekend.

The light heavyweight quarter final between David Joe Joyce (St. Michael’s, Athy) and Sean Allen (Arklow), abandoned when the computer scoring system malfunctioned on Saturday night, has been rescheduled for next Friday night and the winner will then meet the world youths and junior champion, Joe Ward, in the semi-final on Saturday.

The other semi-final will be between defending champion Kenneth Egan, bidding for an unprecedented 11th successive senior title, and newcomer Thomas Roohan (Ballinacarrow, Co. Sligo), who beat Brian Fitzpatrick (Ballina) 4-2 on Saturday night.

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