9 March 2010 – By Steve Wellings
Derry middleweight John Duddy will continue his quest to challenge for a World Title on Saturday, March 13 when he meets Michael Medina over 10 rounds.
Beaten only once in 26 outings (two draws), 23-year-old Medina offers solid credentials and a big punch but will have his work cut-out attempting to derail the Duddy express. The bout will take place on the undercard of the Manny Pacquaio-Joshua Clottey stadium event in Texas.
Duddy has made two ring outings since losing his unbeaten record to unheralded Billy Lyell in April 2009. A routine points win over Michi Munoz was followed by a first round mauling of Mexican Juan Astorga which served to freshen up the Irishman as he eyes the likes of Kelly Pavlik, Sebastian Sylvester and Felix Sturm.
Duddys manager Craig Hamilton told the Belfast Telegraph that the team had considered an offer from Frank Warren to challenge Irish light-middleweight champion Neil Sinclair. That bout would have taken place in Belfast with John making a long awaited return to Irish shores, but Hamilton admitted that appearing on a major Top Rank show made more financial sense.
Millions around the world are going to be watching this show, he added, and Medina is a step-up in class from the last fight. John has told me to get whoever I want and hell knock them down.
It looks like John is on a roll again and I believe that I can get him to where he wants to be this year and thats fighting for a world title, said Hamilton.
Duddy currently sits at number 12 in the WBO ratings yet languishes at 28th in the independent BoxRec standings. His sole professional conquer Lyell went on to challenge Sebastian Sylvester for the IBF crown in Germany, falling in the 10th round following a brave effort. A solid win over a high profile contender will hopefully propel Duddy towards a similar opportunity.
Standing in the way of career progression is 23-1-2 (18 KOs) Medina – who calls himself the Murder Man and has a more than respectable knockout ratio. He has done much of his work in the lower echelons of the middleweight division but did extend unbeaten Top Rank prospect Vanes Martirosyan the full 10 rounds in 2008. Michael was handily beaten by most accounts, yet lasted the distance with a touted opponent and has won five in a row since, four via stoppage.
His vaunted power and aggression will no doubt make for some uncomfortable moments early on as Johns defensive skills are tested. Once 30-year-old Duddy finds a rhythm and incorporates his solid jab he should be able to find a way home, winning fairly clearly on points and edging closer to a shot at a recognised world belt.