JJ McDonagh [15(7)-3(1)] wants to settle a score with Chris Blaney before going on to win Ireland’s Last Man Standing.
The Irish super middleweight champion was confirmed as a late replacement in the tournament on Thursday and became the new betting favourite to pick up the 25,000 winners cheque.
The Mullingar man, who had been training for a fight on the card before getting the late call-up, is confident he has what it takes to win the eight-man single-elimination contest outright, but wants to sort out one Chris Blaney first.
Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com after the Last Man Standing undercard press conference McDonagh was somewhat reserved, but at the top table he said he wanted the Ricky Hatton-trained fighter in the first round of a draw that will be made on Friday March 2nd.
“Blaney keeps mentioning my name when he didn’t have to. I don’t call out people I don’t like it and if did I would be ready to fight them then and there,” McDonagh explained.
“Two years ago he was talking to Irish-Boxing.com saying he wanted to fight me. So I texted and asked when do you want to get the fight on and he says 18 months time? Why mention my name if you don’t want to fight? I have no bad blood he looks to be a sound lad, but when you mention a lads name you should be ready there and then.”
The Irish super middleweight champion cut a confident figure and pointed out he is fitter and more focused than ever at this moment in time.
He stated his intentions to claim the winner’s cheque and take a giant stride to an Irish middleweight title shot.
However, he admits it will take more than looking good in his new Crumlin gym base to emerge victorious.
“I am always confident. You shouldn’t enter a ring unless you’re confident. I think I can win it of course.”
“It’s all about performing on the night. You could be a favourite going in, but you have to perform. I am training well, sparring well and I am really really feeling and looking good in the gym,” he continued.
“Experience-wise I should be favourite, but those only turning over might find the three rounds suit them. The way I look at it is I was training for a fast-paced six rounds so three shouldn’t be a problem.”
Although desperate to take part since the competition was announced, the brother of Irish light heavyweight champion Paddy, was penciled in for the Last Man Standing undercard.
Assassin Promotions didn’t want any of their fighters competing in the inaugural contest, but a raft of withdrawals left them with no choice and McDonagh becomes one of the eight.
“I was trying my best to get on it since the day it was announced, but they didn’t want to put one of their own boxers on it. Kaz [Evans, promoter] said he would put us on it after a while, but he didn’t want us on it first time around. Now everyone is pulling out and afraid to lose their 0 or whatever I get my chance.”