Lee Murtagh will be the first Irish fighter to fight for the controversial WBF Gaelic/Celtic Championship belt.
The Leeds based pugilist is so excited about fighting for WBF’s version of the Celtic title that he has even compared his inaugural clash to the legendary first gloved heavyweight clash between John L Sullivan and Gentleman Jim Corbett!
Murtagh continually broadcasts winning an Irish title as his main boxing goal, but believes holding the first ever Gaelic Celtic title will run that aspiration pretty close.
The 38 year old super middleweight hopes to fight Ciaran Duffy for the strap in Leeds on March 15 on a show run by Wexford man Derek Roche.
“I will be the first boxer to contest the new Gaelic/Celtic championship. I feel like gentleman Jim Corbett being the first. Gentleman Jim boxed John L Sullivan in first gloved heavyweight title, ironically a famous fight between two Irish immigrants. I’m excited and it means the world to me, just as the Irish title does. At present we are looing at opponents. We are looking at Ciaran Duffy a Donegal man. Also a Scottish champion would make it a big Celtic night. It would be a great start to St Patrick’s weekend at the Leeds Irish centre on Thursday the 15th of march.”
The WBF organisation has come under scrutiny of late and will have to do a lot to get the full support and backing of Irish fight fans.
The fighter who twice lost to Anthony Fitzgerald, but defeated Darren Cruise in his last Irish outing admits he, like most, was sceptical about the organisation and thought twice about challenge for their unique belt.
Especially considering the British Boxing Board of Control and Irish Boxing Association failed to ratify Martin Rogan’s WBU title fight earlier this year. However, considering The British Board doesn’t allow Irish licensed fighters to fight for their version of the title Murtagh believes the WBF Gaelic/Celtic title could prove vital in what is a bit of baron spell for the Irish domestic scene.
As a result he is proud to be paving the way for what he believes could prove a vital life line for numerous Irish fighters.
“I had a major concern that the WBF were outlawed as the WBU have been. I remember Big Rogie’s predicament. I respect the WBF for bringing in a Gaelic Celtic title where other organisations haven’t. The Celtic title controlled by the BBBofC excludes Irish boxers. That leaves a huge jump from Irish champion to European title level. This title will also keep Irish boxers busy during the drought in Ireland. I would also like to say I have found Paul Thomas the WBF representative very easy to work with.”