Dunne ready for biggest test yet

BERNARD DUNNE will take his boxing career to a new level when he fights for the vacant IBF world super bantamweight title at the National Stadium on October 14.

The bill will also feature a second world title fight involving fellow Dubliner, Jim Rock, who will contest the vacant IBF middleweight crown.

Brian Magee will be making his first appearance in Dublin since his amateur days as he bids to get his career back on track after dropping that highly controversial decision to Vitali Tsypko in their European title fight in Nuremburg in July. Paul Griffin will be returning to his home town for what will be his third fight this year when Brian Peters serves up what will be a virtual feast of boxing.

All eyes, however, will be on Dunne whose victory over Yuri Voronin at The Stadium in May has claimed a special place in the folklore of Irish boxing. He held fans spellbound as he fought out the final round on auto-pilot after shipping a sucker punch when he had the fight in the bag.

That was his second trip over 10 rounds and now he steps up to the 12 round championship distance against the former British and European bantamweight champion, Noel Wilders.

The 30 year-old Yorkshire man is a southpaw and of 28 fights he has won 24, drew one and lost just three.

The Dubliner admitted yesterday that he has no problem getting up for this one - a world title fight - 12 rounds and a scalp he would dearly love to have on his belt.

“This is something you live for - a world title fight - it is just reward for years of boxing,” he insisted. “Twelve rounds won’t be a problem. I have been twice over 10 so this is part of the natural progression. I have been training for 12 rounds and I am ready for it.

“Super bantamweight won’t be a problem. Brian (Peters) has brought in a fitness coach and a nutritionist. I have just spent three weeks working in the gym and I will be back in on Monday. I am in the shape of my life right now and I am really looking forward to this.

“We are talking about a really good opponent. He is currently ranked No 5 in Europe, he is a former European champion and he is a southpaw. In the past I have had a bit of a problem with southpaws but right now I don’t see it as being a problem.

“This guy is a boxer and he is not coming here to get beaten. I am looking forward to getting in with him and if he wants this to be a tactical battle then I am his man.

“The Dublin fans have been great and I think they got value for money last time. I dominated the fight for nine rounds then he hit me with one and it was a different ball game. That’s boxing. It is exciting and I think anyone who was there that night will be back for more.”

Jim Rock will be up against a man who beat him on a disputed decision at the Ulster Hall in Belfast two years ago when he takes on Alan Jones from Aberystwyth in Wales for the vacant IBF world middleweight title.

Rock, now 33, does not box for money any more but he loves a fight and, with 25 wins from 29 fights he usually comes out on top.

Brian Magee came out on the wrong side of a controversial decision when he challenged Vitali Tsypko for the vacant European super-middleweight title in Nuremburg in mid-July.

After an outstanding amateur career that yielded a silver medal at the European championships in 1998 and a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games the same year, he went on to claim the IBO super middleweight title with a first round victory over Ramon Britez in Liverpool in 2001 and defended it until June of last year when he lost to Robin Reid over 12 rounds in Belfast.

His opponent on October 14 will be Scotland’s Tommy Cannon.

Paul Griffin will face Jim Betts from Scunthorpe who was stopped by Bernard Dunne on his comeback night at the National Stadium in February, while another Dubliner, Oisin Fagan, who is based in Oklahoma and has never boxed in Dublin will take his talents back to his hometown.

He has mixed it with the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Junior and Sheldon Mosley, twice.

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