Boxing: Duddy ready for crack at big time
SHOWDOWN time is looming for John Duddy in Texas.
The 'Derry Destroyer' finally comes head to head with the dangerous Mexican hitman Julio Cesar Chavez Junior in a nationally-televised card in San Antonio on Saturday, June 26.
It will be promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank promotions, and the winner can expect an early shot at world middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, the American who holds the WBC and WBO belts and is generally considered the best man at his weight in the world.
The fight was originally scheduled for earlier this year but Chavez, 24-year-old son of the Mexican legend of the same name who won three world titles, was banned for six months for taking the banned drug Furosemide following his unanimous points win over Troy Rowland in Las Vegas last November.
Chavez insisted he took he drug because he wanted to lose weight and did not realise it was illegal. But the Nevada Commission imposed the ban, which will expire in the middle of May and will allow the Mexican firecracker to concentrate on the Duddy fight.
"I've always been interested in fighting Chavez, and I'm delighted it is finally happening," Duddy said at his New York base yesterday. "This year has the potential to be a good one for me, and a win over Chavez would be terrific. I'm confident I can beat him."
Duddy's manager Craig Hamilton said: "This is the biggest fight in John's career, and before a nationwide TV audience too. John will be going for the kill because this is his big chance. You don't get too many chances in this game, and this is one of them."
Duddy realises that Chavez will be his toughest opponent in a six-year career in which he has won 29 of his 30 fights, 18 either by count-outs or stoppages. It certainly won't be easy against an opponent who has won all his 40 bouts, no less than 30 by the short route. It promises to be a thriller -- while it lasts.
"The Duddy-Chavez fight has all the makings of a good one," said Arum, a former New York lawyer who has promoted some of boxing's greatest fighters in a 44-year career including Muhammad Ali, Marvin Hagler, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard and many others.
"Both Duddy and Chavez have big followings and are good drawing cards. The winner will definitely get a shot at Pavlik," added Arum, who said he was confident that Pavlik would successfully defend his titles against the Spanish-based Argentinian, Sergio Gabriel Martinez, in Atlantic City, New Jersey on Saturday.
Meanwhile, mixed fortunes for Irish boxers in Toronto. Limerick featherweight Willie Casey stopped Canadian superbantamweight champion Tyson Cave in eight rounds, and on the same card, Dundalk lightweight Michael Kelly was outpointed by Ontario's Buzz Grant in a 10-rounder.
It was the fifth win for Casey (28) in as many contests, and his fourth stoppage. He never looked in danger. For Kelly (34), a former world military amateur champion, it was his first defeat after eight wins and a draw. He started well but tired towards the end.
LIMERICK middleweight Andy Lee returns to action on a Brian Peters promotion at the local University Sports Hall on May 15 against an opponent to be named in the next week or so.
ENGLAND'S James DeGale, who beat the late Darren Sutherland in the semi-finals of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, meets Sam Horton for the vacant WBA international supermiddleweight belt in London on May 15.
ON the amateur scene, the Irish Senior Cadet Championships get under way at the National Stadium in Dublin tomorrow, continuing on Saturday and Sunday.