Boxing: Irish duo ready to stand in way of Martinez's plans for world domination
EVERYBODY is always gunning for the champ -- and the winner of next month's European super bantamweight title fight in Dublin between Spain's Kiko Martinez and Frenchman Arsen Martirosyan can expect an immediate Irish challenge.
Limerick's Willie 'Big Bang' Casey and Paulie Hyland, youngest of the famous Dublin boxing family, will be ringside at the National Stadium on September 11 to challenge the winner, expected to be Martinez.
The Spaniard will be remembered for a fight that many, certainly the Bernard Dunne camp, will want to forget -- his demolition in 86 seconds of the Dublin Dynamo for the European 8st 10lbs belt at the old Point three years ago.
With the retired Dunne now out of the equation, Casey or Hyland could well be the next challenger for the Martinez-Martirosyan winner. Both are confident they could relieve either opponent of the title.
Hyland is on the undercard, with his opponent expected to be announced in the next week or so. The current European Union and Irish champion said yesterday: "I'm ready for Martinez or Martirosyan, whoever wins. I'm ranked No 4 in Europe so I deserve a chance.
"I trained with Martinez before his first fight with Rendell Munroe two years ago, so I know his style. If he wins his fight in Dublin next month, he'll find me ready. He's just a little lump of muscle. I know in my heart I could beat him, and I can take Martirosyan too."
Casey, winner of the Prizefighter competition in London in May, said: "Either guy would do me because I feel I would beat them. Just bring on the winner and you will find me ready, willing and able."
Martinez would be prepared to take on either Casey or Hyland in Dublin or anywhere else. He feels they would be stepping stones to a fight for a world title, something the Spaniard has been dreaming about since he first put on professional gloves six years ago.
"I'm looking forward to returning to Dublin next month," he said yesterday, "and getting a chance to win back the European title I lost to Rendell Munroe in 2008. I'm not letting anything stand in my way to get a world title shot.
"With all due respect to Casey and Hyland, I can't imagine them being better than Dunne."
Meanwhile, Mayo light heavyweight Michael Sweeney has his next fight in Bouches-du-Rhone, France. "The exact date is not finalised but it will be either October 1 or 8," said the Ballinrobe native, who has won nine and drawn one of his 11 fights and who is training at Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko's camp in Austria.