24 September 2008 – by Mark Doyle
John Duddys hopes of a shot at IBF light-middleweight champion Verno Phillips have been dashed for the time being at least.
It was initially hoped that Duddy would tackle Phillips at the Kings Hall in Belfast in November but that bout was scrapped due to the lack of suitable TV date.
As a result, the Derry native will now fight in New York on November 6 against an as yet to be confirmed opponent.
The plan after that is a mouthwatering showdown with another undefeated fighter in the shape of Ronald Hearns, son of ring legend Thomas.
According to Duddys manager, Eddie McLoughlin, if Duddy were to defeat Hearns, the Phillips fight would be back on.
“The reason it [the November bout with Phillips] collapsed is that the TV networks have all their schedules worked out in advance and they couldn’t fit in our fight in time,” he explained to the Irish Independent.
“But John will still get his chance, most likely early in the New Year, probably in April.
“If John beats Hearns, and I’m confident he will, then the world title fight is on. A win over such an established contender would certainly boost John’s ratings.”
Meanwhile, Pat Burns remains utterly convinced that Duddy dropping down to 154lbs to pursue his world title dream is the right decision.
“The more I saw of Duddy, the more convinced I became that the lighter weight would suit him best,” he said of the Irishman, who has campaigned at middleweight for almost all of his career.
“That is where our target lies, the world light-middleweight championship, and his fight in November will be at catchweights, between light-middle and middle.”