The Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory at the University Arena, Limerick on Saturday, November 6th was already shaping up to be explosive with Kiko “La Sensación” Martinez defending his European Super Bantamweight title against Limerick's own Willie “Big Bang” Casey but extra TNT has been added to the night with the news that Belfast's Martin Rogan will make his return from injury on the card.
The inaugural Prizefighter winner and former Commonwealth Heavyweight Champ will feature on the card as he bids to bounce back from a career threatening injury. Reigning European Union and Irish Super Bantamweight Champ Paul Hyland will also feature in Limerick with the talented Dubliner eyeing a shot at the winner of Martinez – Casey.
Ireland has become a happy hunting ground for Martinez ever since his sensational win over Bernard Dunne in 2007 to first capture the European title and the Spaniard is confident that he can add the undefeated “Big Bang” Casey to his list of Irish conquests.
“Of course I would have preferred to defend my title at home in Alicante,” admitted Martinez. “I could draw 10,000 people to a Bull Ring if the fight was held there but a Champion proves his worth by going to the challengers back yard and that is what I will be doing in Limerick on November 6th and I fully expect to retain my title.”
Naturally Casey has other plans and despite being a pro for less than 2 years the Limerick southpaw isn't at all phased by Martinez's reputation as a dynamite puncher. “Kiko's talking about defending his title in a bull ring but I can guarantee him that he will be facing a bull in the ring in Limerick and he will have to meet me head on,” said Casey.
“This will be my night, it's a fantastic opportunity and one I am determined to make the most of. Of course everyone knows Kiko can hit but I'm called “Big Bang” for a reason as well so let's see who can take the power on the night.”
Casey emerged in to serious title contention following his Prizefighter win in London earlier this year the same route travelled by Martin Rogan in a meteoric rise that saw him go on to defeat Audley Harrison before a thrilling KO win over then European and Commonwealth Champ Matt Skelton.
However a serious neck injury and back to back defeats have seen Rogan out of the ring for almost a year but he is determined to bounce back and bounce back in style.
The popular Belfast fighter formerly known as “The Entertainer” says he will be coming back as “The Iron Man” and is boldly predicting that he will bring a World Heavyweight title back to Ireland. “Like the old song says, you ain't seen nothin yet!,” said Rogan. “I'm back in the gym, 100% healthy and can't wait to start the second phase of my career in Limerick on November 6th. The Entertainer is gone, long live the Iron Man!
“I'll still be providing entertainment of course but I'm calling myself the “Iron Man” from here on in because I have added steel and resolve now. The time out of the ring has only made me more determined to prove that I have what it takes to bring a World Heavyweight title to Ireland.
"People said I wouldn't win the Prizefighter, people said I wouldn't beat Audley Harrison, people said I wouldn't beat Matt Skelton but I did all that and trust me that will be nothing compared to what I'm going to do from here on in.
“The heavyweight division is a bit of a joke right now. You have a guy in Audley Harrison who I beat almost two years ago taking on David Haye for the World title in November so that tells you everything you need to know about the state of the heavyweights right now but I'm back and I'm going to be their worst nightmare. I won't rest until I have that World title belt wrapped around my waist.”
Rogan says he's completely recovered from the serious neck injury which came close to ending his career. “I first noticed the problem in my neck after the Matt Skelton fight,” explained Rogan. “You should always listen to you're body but I ignored it and it just got progressively worse to the point where by the second Sam Sexton fight I was essentially a one armed fighter.
“I had the surgery in January and it required a three and a half hour operation called a discectomy fusion to fix the problem. Basically I had a protruding disc from my back which was pressing on the nerves in my neck and causing me to lose all feeling in my arm. It was a serious injury but thank god the surgery went very well and I feel ready to take on the world again.”
Promoter Brian Peters believes that it's a night worthy of the billing. “Everyone argues over the date of the Big Bang but for me it will be November 6th, 2010. The main event is the kind of matchup that fight fans dream about and to have the return of Martin Rogan on the card is the icing on the cake.
"Martin's self belief and conviction that he can being a World Heavyweight title back to Ireland is infectious and I'll be doing everything in my power to help him realise that ambition. He's a real life Rocky story and in terms of all action warriors they don't come any bigger than Martin.”
Peters is also expecting a big performance from Paul Hyland as he looks to press his claims for a shot at the winner of Martinez – Casey. “Paul is a gifted fighter and he will get a platform in Limerick to showcase his skills and hammer home the point that he is ready to take on whoever emerges from the main event.”
Further undercard details for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory will be announced shortly.
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Big Bang Theory will go on sale from 9am tomorrow (Friday, October 1st) from Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and all usual outlets.