An Irish title fight comes to Connaught for the first time ever this Saturday when Mayo's own John “The Warrior” Waldron defends his Irish title against Belfast's Ciaran Healy on the undercard of the Hunky Dorys Fight Night at the Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar.
Top of the bill on the RTÉ televised event is unbeaten Cavan star Andy Murray's clash with World number 14 Claudinei “Volcano” Lacerda from Brazil with Waldron featuring alongside fellow Connaught professional's Henry Coyle, Finbarr Eade and Darren Cruise on the 9 fight undercard.
For Ballyhaunis native Waldron the first defence of his Irish Light Heavyweight title will also double as a revenge mission against the man who handed him a defeat on his professional debut just over 2 years ago. On that occasion he was outpointed by Ciaran Healy but Waldron is confident of reversing that result on Saturday night.
“I definitely felt I did enough to win it on the night but the referee saw it differently and it didn't go my way,” said Waldron. “I was only just starting out in the pro's and even then Ciaran was an experienced, crafty campaigner and a former Irish Champion himself but I've learned an awful lot about the pro game since that fight and it will be a very different fight on Saturday night.”
Indeed Waldron believes that fighting so close to home will prove crucial on Saturday. “It's great for me and all the other local lads on the card to have big time boxing right on our doorstep. When I won the Irish title I got a great homecoming in Ballyhaunis so I owe them a big performance to thank them all for turning out on that occasion and that's what I'll be looking to do on Saturday night.
“There's no way he'll be taking the title off me so close to home. When the going gets tough that extra support you get at home really gives you an extra lift. I'm not expecting it to be easy, he's a tough customer and I'm sure he fancies his chances because its an opportunity for him to become a two weight Irish Champion. He likes to come forward but so do I so we'll meet in the middle and see how it goes but I have no doubt that if I hit him with a clean show he'll be going over. I'm punching harder than ever and if I catch him flush then down he'll go.”
Waldron has trained for this fight alongside friend and fellow pro Darren Cruise who will be having his second pro fight on Saturday's card. “Myself and Darren are the best of friends,” revealed Waldron. “We run together and train together and it's great to have another pro so close to me.
"We're like brothers really but when we get in that ring there is no love lost and the sparring can get hot and heavy but it's been great preparation for this fight. I can see so much improvement in Darren every day in the gym, he's coming on in leaps and bounds and is a serious prospect.”
Popular Mayo Light Middleweight Henry “The Western Warrior” Coyle also returns to action in his native county as the hard hitting Geesala native takes on Hungarian hardman Sandor Ramocsa. Ramocsa has never been stopped in an 18 fight pro career that has seen share the ring with former European Champ Cristian Sanavia and former World title challenger Emanuele Della Rosa.
Coyle says he's delighted to be back in front of his own fans and will be looking to put on another big performance. “It's great to be back boxing in my own county where it all started,” said the former Irish Senior Champion and World Military Games Gold medallist. “It doesn't matter where you go in the world whether its Madison Square Garden or Las Vegas there is nothing like boxing before your home fans and the last time I boxed in Castlebar was a truly memorable occasion and hopefully all my loyal fans will come out again to support me.”
Unbeaten Westport pro Finbarr “The Rock” Eade will also make the short trip to Castlebar as he looks to extend his unbeaten record having won all three of his pro fights to date. Doors open at the Breaffy House Resort from 6pm with live coverage of the event on RTÉ from 9:30pm.
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys Fight Night: Young Guns priced from €40, €50, €60 and €80 are on sale from Ticketmaster.ie / 0818 719300 and all usual outlets.