Thursday 25 April 2019

Boxing: Dunne insists Cordoba 'ain't seen nothing yet' as he lands 'dream' shot at title

Bernard O'Neill

FORMER European super bantamweight champ Bernard Dunne reckons that Panamanian southpaw Ricardo 'El Maestrito' Cordoba has never experienced the type of atmosphere he's about to walk into in Dublin.

Dunne's management team have pulled off an enormous coup with the announcement that Cordoba, the current WBA World super bantamweight champion, will put his title on the line against Dunne at the O2 arena on March 21.

The upcoming clash grants Dunne the chance to realise a lifetime ambition -- and also gives the Dubliner the opportunity to become the second Irishman since Barry McGuigan to adorn his waist with a WBA belt.

Dunne said: "This is the fight I've wanted since I first put on a pair of boxing gloves. It's every boxer's dream to be a world champion and I'm no different. This is what I've worked my whole life for and now that the chance is here I want to grab it with both hands.

"It's going to be an incredible experience and I know I'll thrive on that atmosphere. Cordoba's fought all around the world, but he won't ever have experienced anything like the atmosphere in the O2."

Cordoba, who at 24 is four years Dunne's junior, will arrive in Dublin with a highly impressive CV. Since turning pro at 16, he has won 34 of his 37 fights (21 KOs, two draws, one loss).

One of those wins was against the current unified WBA and IBF super bantamweight champ Celestino Cabellero in Panama City in 2004. Cordoba captured the WBA interim belt after earning a unanimous decision over Luis Perez last September.

Looking ahead to the fight, the Panamanian puncher said that he intends no disrespect when he says that he doesn't want to set eyes on Dunne until they step in the ring.

"I know his name and record and I'm told he's a good technical boxer and that's all I need to know for now," he said. "I don't even watch videos of my opponents. It's not a sign of disrespect, I just prefer to assess them when the bell goes for the first round.

"I am treating this as the biggest fight of my career. I only won the World title in September and this is my first defence so there is no way that I am taking this fight lightly."

The five-times Panamanian champion also has no worries about fighting in hostile atmospheres and insists he will be targeting a KO at the O2.

He added: "I'm a World champion now, so what's the point in staying at home defending my title? A true World champ defends his title all over the world. I've had some bad decisions before in Thailand and Germany, but I'm confident that I will retain my title either by knockout or a clear points win."

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