By Jonny Stapleton
Willie Casey’s appearance on the first professional Irish card of the year tonight could be his last ever ring showing.
The all action Limerick fighter makes a welcome return to action against David Kanalas (6-1) at the Emerald Road House in Belfast, but warned if things don’t pick up in 2012 he could hang up his gloves.
‘Big Bang’ literally exploded onto the scene in late 2010 winning Prizefighter and claiming the European title in a manner of months. However, an unsuccessful world title challenge last March brought to an end his meteoric rise. A sensational Guillermo Rigondeaux left to the body did as much damage to Casey’s career as it did his ribs.
One of the most charismatic punchers in the business has since struggled to get big fights and that aligned with the Irish boxing recession has forced him to contemplate retirement.
“This fight has been a long time coming. Things seem to be drying up. I am grateful Emerald promotions came in and got me a fight, but we found it hard to get an opponent. I found it hard to get a journey man to come and fight me. I am hoping this will kick-start things and help get my name back out there,” Casey revealed.
“Lately I only realised what an effect losing a world title fight has on you. It has got very quiet and shows are scarce. If Emerald keep running shows I will stay working with them, but if it is as quiet as it was last year I will walk away. I love the sport, but I spend a lot of time away from home. If nothing is happening for me I will hang up the gloves.”
The 30 year old former European champion admits retirement talk may have been bourn from the frustration of trying to secure an opponent for a show, that will included local talent in Joe Hillerby,Gerard Healy, Mark Ginley, Ray Ginley and Anthony Cacace.
The lively super bantamweight did attempt to remain optimistic and is hoping he can become the jewel in Emerald Promotions crown in 2012. Casey has been linked with Carl Frampton, Kid Gallahad and others in recent weeks and he has retained some hope for his 2012 big fight chances.
“Hopefully this will be one of many fights this year. There are few good fighters out there doing a lot of talking about wanting bigger fights and hopefully we can get them on.”
The Southill southpaw is certainly the biggest name on the Emerald Promotions line up, but he claims he is not the only one to look out for on tonight’s card.
“Ray Ginley is one to watch he is like an animal. He is a light heavyweight in sparring with heavyweights and they are finding it hard with him. We have a good team in the gym and these lads are all talented. I would advise people to come down, take in some evenly matched fights and watch some names for the future”
to look at pictures from yesterdays weigh in click link below