Irishman Bernard Dunne is shedding the pounds in order to secure a shot at England’s European super-bantamweight champion Esham Pickering.
Dunne has his first 12-round contest tomorrow night before a sell-out crowd in Dublin’s National Stadium and will face Yorkshireman Sean Hughes for the vacant IBC super-bantamweight title.
Unbeaten prospect Dunne, 25, was scheduled to face former European bantamweight champion Noel Wilders but earlier this week he pulled out amid suggestions he is about to hang up his gloves.
Dubliner Dunne – who has chalked up 16 straight victories at featherweight - and his manager Brian Peters are taking nothing for granted despite the fact Hughes would not seem to offer the same threat as Wilders.
Peters said: “This is Bernard’s first fight at super-bantamweight so it is something of a step into the unknown for him but I expect him to be just as strong at the lighter weight as he was at featherweight.
“I would think Bernard is two wins away from a fight with Pickering assuming all goes to plan but we’re not taking Hughes lightly. This is a great chance for him to come through into the spotlight.
“I expect Pickering to be at ringside so I hope Bernard’s performance doesn’t scare him off. Dunne and Pickering would be a great fight.”
Super-middleweight Brian Magee returns to the ring for an eight-rounder against Armenian Varuzhan Davtyan as he looks to stay on track for a rematch with European champion Vitali Tsypko.
Ukrainian Tsypko controversially took a split decision in their vacant European title fight in June in Germany and the European Boxing Union have promised the Ulsterman a mandatory shot at the title.
Magee’s trainer Harry Hawkins said: “The EBU have told us that Brian will face the winner of Tyspko and Frenchman Jackson Chanet within 90 days of their contest next month.”
Dubliner Jim Rock also boxes a 12-rounder with Welshman Alan Jones for the vacant IBC middleweight title.