June 26 Jonny Stapleton
Dolphil promotions are still afloat and are planning to steer clear of troubled waters by using WBA world number 10 Anthony Fitzgerald as there life boat according to Phil Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe revealed money man Don O’Leary is focusing on non boxing business ventures at present, but claims the promotional company is still threading water.
The Crumlin trainer stressed he hoped Dolphil would rise again under their new leading light, EBA champion Fitzgerald.
In an incredibly honest interview the father of Olympic hopeful Phil Sutcliffe Jnr, also , wished former protégé Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey all the best after he jumped ship to Gary Hyde, intimidated Fitzgerald’s lifestyle held him back early in his career, claimed Brain Peters is the only Promoter to make money in Ireland and backed the IABA’s decision to have a World Championship Box Off.
After Casey’s loss to potential pound for World champion Guillermo Rigondeaux Dolphil promotions looked like they were not going to survive the ten count, but Sutcliffe told www.irish-boxing.com that whilst the promotional company are not going strong they are still going.
“We are going to build our team around WBA number 10 Anthony Fitzgerald. Anto is staying on the ship. It is not sunk yet. Dolphil is still going. We hope to have a big announcement next week. At the moment there is no money in our pockets to stage any form of show, but we are talking to a few backers,” the trainer explained.
“Dolphil is still going until you hear me say otherwise. We still have Cristina McMahon, Daren Cruise, Paddy Ward, Noely O’Brien and Prunty. They are still on the books. Realistically some of them won’t get past domestic level, but they are hard working pro’s and deserve fights.,” he added.
The sensational left to the mid section landed by Rigondeaux in the first round of his WBA interim title tilt with Willie Casey didn’t just hurt the Big Bang it was literally a massive body blow to Dolphil Promotions.
Dolphil have been on the canvas since and despite claims they will survive the referee’s count they are struggling.
Losing the first man to transcend the sport since Bernard Dunne to Rigondeaux’s manager Gary Hyde may have made things worse, but Sutcliffe holds no bad blood.
Casey’s former trainer understands the Limerick man’s decision and wishes him all the best in his future career.
“It is as simple this- Willie needs work and I wasn’t able to provide him with work. Personally I was disappointed that he wanted to go. We had worked hard with him and got him to European champion. We built up a relationship over the years, but I understand why he went. I still don’t regret taking on Rigondeaux. We took a chance. You don’t get world title shots everyday. To be honest Rigo surprised me. Even after looking at all his videos I didn’t expect that,” he added.
“Training wise I wouldn’t say it was Willie’s decision to leave Crumlin and the team here. Whoever is training him now have a good worker on their hands and I hope they do a good job with him. I wish Willie all the best. I wish any fighter I worked with all the best. I have lads of all ages and levels in this gym and I do my best for them all. I produce fighters and that’s what I am good at.”
Sutcliffe did help add some more refined touches to the inspirational Southill slugger, upgrading Big Bang from stick of dynamite to a more technical explosive device.
However the Crumlin boss now has a new project and believes he can continue to develop the controversial and much maligned Anthony Fitzgerald on the World stage.
In another honest admission the 1980 Olympian claimed a lack of dedication and not a lack of talent was the inner city Dub’s downfall prior to his recent resurgence.
“Anto came to us three years ago and he was intermediate boxer. We helped work on things inside and some things outside the ring and he has benefited. He is now number 10 in the world. All the press and fans keep writing him off but he keeps coming on strong. He beat Kevin Hammond via an exceptional performance. His skill was amazing that night. He is only a baby in the boxing game.
“He is only learning to be dedicated over the last few years. We have him living the proper life now and his boxing is reflecting that. I understand it is frustrating for him now that there are no fights coming up, but this time round he is keeping his focus. He is training everyday and keeping fit. As soon as big fight comes up he will be ready. There are big things around the corner for Anto,” Sutcliffe added before giving his opinion of the professional game in Ireland at present.
“This country can’t financially support pro boxing at the moment. None of Dolphil’s shows made money. Not one put a penny on any of our pockets. Look at Paddy Hyland’s show recently. It was a great card but didn’t sell out. It is only Brian Peters who was making money on shows. Everyone knows that.”
Sutcliffe has got a pro stable, but via Crumlin amateur gym he is also a renowned amateur coach.
And he put his amateur hat on when discussing the up and coming World Championshp Box Offs.
“I agree with the box offs and I think they should be called ’Box Offs’. Anything can happen in the seniors or tournaments before and after. Young Phil had a smashed hand in the seniors this year. He had that sorted since and he is coming back to form and he might get a second chance. I understand the other point of view too. Look at the 60 kilo class young McDonagh, his mind isn’t right at the moment. I was talking to his coach and they are not too pleased. He beat Eric Donavan then beats David Oliver Joyce and then had to beat Joyce again. They think he is being put in their till he is defeated, but it has to be one rule for all. Its hard on some boys but I think the Box Offs are the fairest way.”