Haughian targets titles

05 January 2009 – Press Release

Stephen Haughian believes hes ready to start chasing down major titles in 2009.

The Co. Armagh boxer will look to take his career to the next level when he headlines a first ever pro fight night at the Craigavon Leisure Centre on Saturday, February 7.

The Lurgan welterweight who trains out of John Breens Gym in Belfast is hoping to enjoy the same success in 2009 that gym-mates Paul McCloskey and Martin Rogan enjoyed last year. Both ended 2008 on a high, with McCloskey claiming the British light-welterweight title and Rogan ending any remaining world title aspirations that Audley Harrison might have had.

They say success breeds success and I certainly think thats the case in the gym at the minute, said Haughian. Paul had a terrific win over Colin Lynes at short notice and I always fancied Martin to beat Harrison because of his attitude.

He just loves a challenge and everyone in the gym is the same. The two lads are proof that is you put the work in the rewards can come your way so theyve definitely been an inspiration to me.

Haughian has compiled an impressive record of 16 wins from his 17 outings since turning professional in 2005. The sole blemish on his record remains a controversial points defeat to Giammario Grassellini for the IBF Intercontinental title at the King’s Hall in Belfast just over a year ago.

Haughian, however, reversed that result last time out by outpointing his Italian rival decisively on a Bernard Dunne undercard in November.

Despite only recently turning 24 Haughian now feels hes ready for the best in Britian.

Id like to think this year will be a big one for me,” he enthused.

“Obviously its getting off to the best possible start with me headlining my own show and after that Ill be looking for an Irish or Celtic title. After that Id love a crack at either the British or Commonwealth titles.

Haughians promoter, Brian Peters, is confident of delivering those opportunities.

Stephens the mandatory challenger for the Celtic title so hopefully we can make that happen in the next few months,” he stated.

“Ive made repeated attempts to get Billy Walsh to defend his Irish welterweight title against Stephen but hes obviously not interested. Hes been talking ridiculous money for an Irish title fight but I think hes pricing himself out of the fight deliberately because he knows Stephen would be far too much for him.

Obviously the Irish title is something that Stephen would love to win but if we cant make that fight then well move on to the Celtic title and hopefully a British or Commonwealth title opportunity later in the year.

Meanwhile, Haughians trainer, John Breen, believes that his charge is more than capable of matching the achievements of his gym mates.

Ive been saying for a long time that Stephens my secret weapon,” he pointed out.

“He goes about his business quietly but I see him in the gym day in and day out and I believe he has the potential to be as good a fighter as Ive ever worked with. I dont see anyone out there in Britain to trouble him.

Haughians February 7 date is essentially a hometown appearance for the Lurgan native and he says all his sacrifices over Christmas will be worthwhile for the opportunity to showcase his skills in front of his own supporters.

I only live a few miles from the venue so it will be as good as having the fight in my back garden,” he joked.

“Ive been training hard all over Christmas and theres already a bit of a buzz around the place about it. Everyones really looking forward to it.

“They love their boxing here and when I fought in Lurgan a few years back the venue was too small and they actually had to turn people away at the door.

My Dad runs the Phoenix amateur boxing club here and his shows are always packed as well so I think there going to be a great atmosphere next month. People cant get enough of boxing here.

An action-packed undercard will feature a host of Irish boxings finest talent. Former World title challenger and British Champion Neil Sinclair will be looking to showcase his feared punching power, while unbeaten Michael Kelly will be returning after a break of almost three years.

Undefeated in six pro starts, the former Irish amateur champ says hes hungrier than ever and wants to emulate the pro success of former amateur rival Paul McCloskey.

Another man hungry for titles is Belfasts Kevin OHara. By his own admission OHaras career has yet to live up to expectations but with 14 wins from his 18 starts Sweet Pea knows that he has solid foundations to launch a fresh bid for titles in 2009.

Also on the card is popular Omagh prospect Damian Taggart. The Tyrone man has been mentored by the countys All-Ireland winning football manager, Mickey Harte, since turning pro just over a year ago and hes hoping 2009 will be a massive year in his fledgling pro career.

Tickets priced 30, 40 and 60 are available from:

Stephen Haughian 07595672699 Maurice Haughian 07733413516 Woodville Arms 02838324005 Ashburn Hotel 02838325711 John Breen 07802898054 Breens Gym (above Monico Bar, Belfast) 02890278708 Neil Sinclair 07707971854 Damian Taggart 07746527958 Michael Kelly 0877618356 Coley Traynor 07779594007 Best Rate Bureau 02830252595

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