Belfast’s Martin Lindsay will look to take inspiration from the recent success of fellow Irish fighters, as he gears up for a shot at Paul Appleby’s British featherweight title.
Lindsay and Appleby will clash on April 25 at Belfast’s Ulster Hall and Irish favourite Lindsay is delighted to have home advantage.
“Boxing’s been going well in Ireland recently,” says the 26-year-old Lindsay. “We’ve got Bernard Dunne, Martin Rogan, Paul McCloskey and Brian Magee all doing really well in title fights. We’re all going in as underdogs and coming out on top.
"We’ve had a run of about four or five big fights where nobody backed us and we ended up bringing home the belts. That can only be a good thing for Irish boxing.”
Lindsay may also find himself a slight underdog on April 25. In an intriguing battle of unbeaten fighters, champion Appleby and challenger Lindsay get it on at the second time of asking, following a postponed date in March.
“I can’t wait to get going,” says Lindsay, who was forced to pull out of the original date due to a rib injury. “My ribs are fine now and I’ve been sparring away and getting hit there. It’s not a problem.
“I had a trapped nerve in my rib, but I’ve had a lot of work done on it and it seems to have done the trick. I’m firing on all cylinders again now and can’t wait.”
The 13-0 Lindsay will require all cylinders against reigning champion Appleby, 14-0.
“He’s a strong fighter who comes forward and sometimes comes forward too much for his own good,” assesses ‘Mac Man’. “Sometimes he can be a bit reckless. Still, it seems to be working for him right now as he’s finishing a lot of guys off.
"That’s just the way he fights. Hopefully as he steps up in class he’ll find it a bit harder to do the things he does at a lower level. I’m hoping I can exploit a few weaknesses he has.
“I want to go out and do what I want to do in this fight. At the same time, though, I’m obviously going to go out there and look to capitalise on mistakes as he comes forward.”
Lindsay secured his shot at the British title with a stunning ninth-round knockout of Liverpool’s Derry Mathews last September. Slightly behind on points at the time, one single left-hook landed Lindsay the title chance he’d always craved. He admits the impending duel with Appleby could be even more enthralling than the victory over Mathews.
“He’s the British champion and he’s the one with the title,” says Lindsay. “They’re all tough guys out there - and I’ve fought plenty of tough opponents in the past - but I’d probably say Appleby is the strongest one so far, simply because he holds the belt.
“Derry and Appleby are two very different fighters. Derry had long range and long arms, and I probably won’t have to deal with anything like that against Appleby. Appleby is probably a bit more aggressive, though. They both bring different things to the table.”
Ultimately, given Ireland’s recent run of boxing heroics, Lindsay feels in safe hands on April 25. He couldn’t ask for a better backdrop to his first British title shot.
“In any fight, especially at this level, you’re going to have to dig deep and pull it out,” he explains. “The home crowd does help to bring that out of you a wee bit. It gives you that little bit extra. If things start going pear-shaped you can always rely on the crowd for that extra boost.”