| 14.5°C Dublin

Saunders sure he will get McCloskey in deep trouble

Dungiven's former European light welterweight champion Paul McCloskey (24-3, 12 KOs) will be fighting Bradley Saunders (8-0, 6 KOs) in Newcastle on March 29.

No longer with Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Sport company, the 34-year-old Irish southpaw is anxious to get back to winning ways following a defeat in the only bout he had last year. But Saunders is ambitiously targeting the British title, saying that title holder Curtis Woodhouse (33) is retiring and is tipping him to beat McCloskey.

Woodhouse and Kell Brook have both been dismissing McCloskey on Twitter, with Woodhouse describing him as "washed up".

Apart from the European title, McCloskey held the British title, the IBF International light welterweight title, and the WBA Inter-Continental light welterweight belt.

But Saunders' supporters reckon McCloskey won't be a match for the former Beijing Olympian who'll have hometown advantage.

Noting McCloskey's experience, Saunders says: "He thinks he's going to take me in the deep water. But I assure you, he'll be the one getting drowned."


Following last night's action, the second set of 13 National Elite semi-finals will be decided tonight in the National Stadium.

Among the stellar match-ups tonight will be Joe Ward v Sean McGlinchey (81kg), Adam Nolan v Fergal Redmond (69 kg) and Darren O'Neill v Derek Duhig (75 kg).

Christy Joyce (Athy) v Michael Reilly (Portlaoise) (75 kg) promises to be a great bout.

Next week's men's finals on Friday will be televised live on TG4 with commentary by Seán Bán Breathnach who'll be joined by Joe Hernon, Colman ó Flatharta and Brendan ó Conaire with discussion and analysis. Katie Taylor will meet Alanna Audley-Murphy in the women's lightweight final next Saturday.