18 January 2010 – By Oisin Fagan
Im absolutely delighted to have been offered this fight. Andy is a great champion and really good lad. I respect him both inside and outside of the ring. I expect him to do some great things in the future for Irish boxing, but hes only a young fella, so he can afford a little glitch on his record, on his way to becoming a superstar sometime in the future.
Those who have followed my career up to now know that reputations dont bother me – Ill fight anyone in the world. I never run from anyone and I will walk through walls to get at my opponent. I fight for the respect of my countrymen and will go toe-to-toe with anyone in the world. Ive been unlucky at times in the showcase fights up to now, but my luck has to change at some stage and I feel that this is my time to shine.
Unfortunately, politics has been unkind to me in the past, throughout my career and Ive taken on world champs in their hometowns and on their shows. Ive never had a high-roller promotional team behind me, who are able to afford the finances it takes to match me with guys with pretty records, who make me look good. I always seem to take on the up-and-coming superstar, or the established champion, in their hometowns; hence some of the controversial split-decision defeats on my record. Now, I find myself once again on another card promoted by my opponents promoter, with all the advantages that go along with that.
However, I find Brian Peters to be a stand-up individual and I would expect nothing but absolute even-handedness when it comes to our bout; whether thats in regards to appointing a neutral referee, judges, or even, having his say with the pundits on RTEs panel. Anyway, even though Brian promotes some of the fighters on this show, his honesty will be to his own advantage in the end. Since, the very best of Irish talent will be in the spotlight, he has a unique advantage, responsibility and duty to demonstrate Irelands boxing talent, whether his fighters that emerge victorious or not and I don’t doubt that he’ll do all in his power to make things fair and balanced, throughout the build-up and on the night itself.
I’m training in Crumlin, Dublin now and have been there since recovering from the leg-break in the Khan fight. I have had a fantastic team behind me, in DolPhil Promotions, which include brilliant coaches and trainers – my head coach is former amateur superstar and national coach, Philip Sutcliffe; together with the very talented, Joe Clifford, Dave O’Brien Jimmy Upton and Paddy Brady. Then the very astute businessman, Don O’Leary makes up a great group and I am happy to have these lads on my team. A win against Murray will propel us onto bigger and better things, so Im raring to go – I feel that this is my time! I’ve been sparring hard and I always train through Christmas, so that’s never a problem and I will be in the best shape of my life for this fight.
I wont make a prediction, but Ill tell you some facts. Andys a better boxer than I am- no question about that. However, as far as Im concerned, there are many amateurs out there, who are better boxers than I am. The great equaliser I have in this sport, over most other fighters, is a huge Irish heart and a relentlessness, which is second to none. Most boxing fans know that I had no amateur experience; yet, I still travelled to world champions backyards as a professional and gave them the toughest fights of their careers- and thats in their words, not mine! So, please God, come February 13, Ill be able to show everyone why that is.
Andy has had a great amateur career, been senior champion and excelled in hundreds of amateur fights, whereas I had only three amateur fights before being thrown in at the deep-end. I’ve come up the hard way in this sport and I intend to show Andy how hard I’ve had it. I know that Ill be the underdog on the night, but if Andy wants to fight me in the middle of the ring, Im certain we’ll give the fans what they want to see – another super night at the fights. I’m hoping he decides to stand toe-to-toe with me, for the fans sake, as I want them to leave the stadium talking about a potential ‘Fight of the Year 2010’, to go along with my 2009 award. I like being in exciting fights and bringing a warriors heart each and every time, regardless of the outcome.