Cool Hand Luke sets his sights on Celtic Title

LUKE Keeler’s says his eye catching stoppage win in Belfast last Friday night has helped him build, confidence, support and momentum.

The 27 year old Dublin middleweight pushed his career record to 5-0 with an impressive knock out win over London based Albanian Festim Lama in Holiday Inn. The stoppage wasn’t as impressive as Andy Lee’s one punch flattening of the talented John Jackson, but it has made people sit up and take note nonetheless.

A video of the stoppage win has been viewed by thousands on www.irish-boxing.com and Keeler claims it has helped boost his profile. The praise that came from the opposite corner also helped raise confidence levels and in terms of momentum Keeler now believes he is ready for a title fight when big time boxing returns to Dublin in July.

“The win and the manner in which it came was a huge confidence boost and great in terms of building support. My phone hasn’t stopped with messages and interest in next fight, so I am delighted with that,” Keeler told Irish-boxing.com.

“I’ll gradually step up each fight at a time in no rush I know I still have a lot to improve but improving rapidly each camp.My next fight is a Celtic Nation title fight over eight rounds. Hopefully good test and go from there.”.

Pre fight ‘Cool Hand Luke’ had signaled his intent to make somewhat of a statement and suggested he would get the stoppage. The Ballyfermot native admits he was a bit over eager to impress in the ‘capital of Irish boxing’, but was delighted to deliver on his promise.

“I said before the fight that once I land I’ll get a stoppage and was delighted to be proven right. The power is there to see and I know can only keep improving. I’ll be straight back into strength training and working on mistakes with (coach) Pascal (Collins) as soon as he’s home.

“I was a bit over anxious in fight and got drawn into scrap, but once settled down found distance I got him out of there. I have been hurting and dropping guys with either hand in sparring so I knew once I landed clean I would get him out of there.”

Keeler went to Belfast with plenty of support but without coach Pascal Collins, but claims his Belfast debut was made easier by the support of the shows promoter and officials on the night.

“Everyone was very welcoming in Belfast. Alio (Wilton) was great in corner along with Celtic Warrior team that traveled up. Mark Kennedy Dave Maguire , Pat Byrne, Niall Byrne and Kerrie Christie where a great help. The Refs and officials where also very welcoming and was an honour to meet legend Hugh Russell while up there.”

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