Argentina's Marcelo Rodriguez has promised to embody the fighting spirit of Mayo native Admiral Brown when he travels to Ireland to challenge Henry Coyle for his WBF Light Middleweight title on August 17th.
The two men clash at The Royal Theatre, Castlebar and Rodriquez is clearly aware of the connection between his native land and Mayo through Admiral William Brown, the Mayo native widely known as "the father of the Argentine Navy".
Brown was born in Foxford, Co. Mayo in 1777 and would go on to become a national hero in Argentina as a key figure in the War of Independence before further enhancing his reputation as the defender of Buenos Aires during the Cisplatine War.
He died in 1857 and is buried in Buenos Aires. Statues and monuments to him are found throughout Argentina, and his name is honoured with several streets, squares and towns but his Irish roots are also commemorated in his native Foxford with a monument and the Admiral Brown Museum in the town.
Rodriquez is hoping to fit in a visit to the museum when he arrives in Mayo and believes it will inspire him to a win over the local champion. "I'm looking forward to this fight in Ireland because Argentina has such strong connections with Mayo," said Rodriquez. "It will be great to learn more about Admiral Brown's Irish roots and to visit the monument and the museum. The main souvenir I want to bring back to Argentina though is the WBF title belt!
"I've fought outside of Argentina many times including fights in Mexico, Germany, Australia, France and Uruguay so it is nothing new to me. I have watched some of Coyles fights and he seems to have a very similar style to me. We both like to stand in the middle of the ring and have a fight.This won't be a dancing competition, we will meet head on and deliver a great fight for the Irish fans but I am afraid they will not be so happy with the result!"
With 43 KO's from his 60 wins the experienced Rodriquez has a reputation of a heavy hitter and he believes his firepower will prove the difference at The Royal Theatre. "I hit hard with both hands, I know when you are fighting way from home that you can't expect any favours from the judges so every time I fight I go for the knockout because then you take the decision out of the judges hands and can decide matters with your own hands."
Prior to turning professional Rodriquez enjoyed an amateur rivalry with Sergio Martinez, the man currently recognised as the World's best middleweight and one of the best pound for pound boxers on the planet. "I fought Sergio in the amateurs and we both turned professional around the same time so I have always followed his career with great interest.
"He has gone on to achieve great things in the sport and is one of the best fighters in the world today. We have very different styles but he is an inspiration because for a long time he travelled the world like me fighting in different countries against the hometown guy and eventually he got the big fights and now he has achieved so much at an age when most people think fighters should have hung up their gloves."
Rodriquez will form part of a two man Argentine armada in Castlebar on August 17th with his compatriot Sergio Priotti set to take on Andy Murray in the Cavan man's first fight since an unsuccessful European title challenge last year.
Also on the undercard Irish based Cuban Alexei "The Hurricane" Collado faces World rated Ukrainian, Stanyslav Merdov with the former World Junior Champion looking to extend his perfect professional record. Merdov will undoubtedly prove his stiffest test to date having pushed boxing's longest reigning Word Champ, Chris John all the way in a challenge for his WBA Featherweight title last November.
A knee injury has forced Sligo's Stephen Reynolds to withdraw from his scheduled contest on the card but an intriguing replacement bout sees Mayo's former Irish Light Heavyweight Champ John Waldron take on Dublin's Brendan Fitzpatrick in a bout that both men will be desperate to win in a bid to get back on track following recent setbacks.
An all Connaught affair between Galway's Alan Donnellan and Roscommon's Darren Cruise will see the winner take a step closer to an Irish title fight. Cruise will be looking to bounce back from his quarter final defeat in the last Prizefighter event while Donnellan will be looking to get back to winning ways following his first defeat, a contentious points loss to Ciaran Healy in Belfast recently.
Rounding out the card is an all Mayo affair that will see two Ballyhaunis boxers punching for pay for the first time - against each other as welterweights Michael Waldron and Brandon Peake clash in their pro debuts.
Tickets for the August 17th event priced €40, €60 and €100 are available from the Royal Theatre Box Office on 0818 300 000, Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and the boxers on the bill.
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