Dunne goes into the west

Former European champion Bernard Dunne will head 'into the west' for his return to the ring on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the International Events Arena, Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar, County Mayo on April 12.

Former European champion Bernard Dunne will head 'into the west' for his return to the ring on the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the International Events Arena, Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar, County Mayo on April 12.

Dunne's clash with former World champion Felix Machado will mark his first fight since last August's shock European title defeat to Kiko Martinez and the Dubliner is itching to step back between the ropes.

"I just can't wait and it's great to have a date to work towards now," revealed Dunne who celebrated the birth of his second child in December.

"I've had a good break and I got to spend a lot of time with the latest addition to the family. I missed that when Caoimhe was born because I had to go into training camp not long after.

"So it was nice to be able to spend so much time with (my wife) Pamela and the kids but I'm ready to go now again."

The 28-year-old is determined to put the sole blemish on his pro career behind him and get back to winning ways against Machado.

The Venezuelan southpaw held the world super flyweight title from 2000 to 2003 and has had wins over world champions Martin Castillo, Mauricio Pastrana and Julio Gamboa in a stellar career.

Dunne admitted: "To be honest, I don't care who is in the other corner. I just want to get back in there and get back on track starting with this fight on April 12."

The Neilstown native insists he will continue to campaign at super bantamweight and is hopeful of a rematch with Martinez.

"I'd like to get Mr. Martinez in the ring again as soon as possible for obvious reasons. There are other factors to consider though with Kiko fighting under a different promotional banner so I don't know if the fight can be made.

"But if it comes along I'll be ready for it. Hopefully it will but myself, Brian Peters and Harry Hawkins have sat down and established our own plan if that doesn't come off."

Looking back on his defeat to Martinez, Dunne insists that he has no excuses.

"I said immediately afterwards that I had no excuses and I'm not going to start making excuses now. It happened and that's boxing," he said.

"I was 100% mentally and physically ready for that fight but I just got caught by a shot I didn't see coming. In sport there's always a winner and a loser so when you come out of a fight on the wrong side you just have to deal with it and bounce back."

Dunne has dismissed any notion that he will be out to prove the critics wrong on his return to the ring.

"I don't take any notice of things like that. I don't need to prove myself to anybody other than myself. I don't need any critics to motivate me, ultimately the motivation needs to come from within yourself and I have that more than ever now."

Dunne's contest with Machado will take place in Castlebar allowing Mayo fight fans to sample the excitement of professional boxing and Dunne is looking forward to heading west.

"Brian has had the idea of bringing the show on the road for quite a while now and it's something new so hopefully the atmosphere that the fights used to generate at the Stadium and the Point will travel to Mayo."

Promoter Brian Peters believes that the Mayo venue will prove an excellent venue for Dunne's return.

"The facilities in the Breaffy House Resort are top class. We had a very successful show in Limerick with Andy Lee recently and we have Paul McCloskey headlining in Letterkenny next month so there's a huge appetite around the country now for professional boxing and it's great to see," Peters explained.

Trainer Harry Hawkins has backed Dunne to beat Machado in style, having taken on board the lessons of the Martinez defeat.

The Belfast-based trainer said: "The mark of a great fighter is how they react after a defeat and I think he'll be back a better fighter for the experience.

"It was a harsh and costly lesson but Bernard will learn from it and bounce back, I've no doubt about that."

The Hunky Dorys Fight Night on April 12 will feature an undercard with plenty of local interest as Mayo's own fighting men take to the ring.

Undefeated cruiserweight prospect Michael 'The Storm' Sweeney will look to extend his unbeaten record, while Castlebar's very own Keith Cresham will make his pro debut at light heavyweight.

Also on the card is London-based Galwegian John O'Donnell, a skilled welterweight operator who has long been tipped as one of Europe's hottest prospects by leading UK promoter Mick Hennessy.

The fighting trio from Connacht will be joined on the card by Cuban heavyweight sensation Mike 'The Rebel' Perez in what will be his third scheduled professional fight in just four weeks.

Also on the card is Omagh's unbeaten light middleweight Damian Taggart who is being mentored by All-Ireland winning manager Mickey Harte.

Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night priced from 60 euro go on sale from 9am tomorrow morning (Friday, February 29) from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets.

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