Keeler admits “I wasn’t 100% up for the last two” but views Cruise clash as “my world title”

Luke Keeler’s mindset is proof that there is something different about all-Irish fight – especially those with the green belt on the line.

The popular Ballyfermot middleweight takes on Darren Cruise [7(1)-5(0)] for the 160lbs title this Summer off the back of two victories over respected British names Bradley Pryce and Lewis Taylor, but he claims he is more motivated for his domestic dust up.

Taylor and Pryce presented the Paschal Collins-trained fighter with a chance to increase both his rating and his standing, but Keeler has admitted he wasn’t as motivated as he should have been heading into each battle.

Although Cruise comes motivated, hungry, and brings a bragging rights element hto the fight, he wouldn’t have the same profile as Keeler’s two recent foes. Nevertheless, the domestic element means this fight feels more World than Irish title for ‘Cool Hand’ Luke.

“There is definitely different edge with a domestic fight,” Keeler [12(5)-2(1)] told Irish-boxing.com.

“Truth be known I wasn’t 100% up for the last two fights. I took them too lightly but this fight I’m taking it as my world title. I’ve never won a Irish title in amateurs and will mean everything to win that Irish belt as a pro.”

Additionally, Keeler notes how a win would also perhaps bump him further up the European rankings, where he currently lies in 13th spot.

“I’m taking it as another step towards a European title fight, the Irish title has a European ranking so it will push me up further and on course to a title fight by the end of 2017.”

The June 24th Red Corner-promoted National Stadium-hosted clash, which some have suggested would have been a perfect fit for Sky’s Belfast June 10th fight night, has been built as a 50-50 clash despite the fact Keeler has the more aestetically-pleasing record.

The 30 year doesn’t take exception to the fact people see the match-up as a pick ’em affair – indeed he suggests the lines have been blurred by his recent performances which he feels were below par.

“In fairness to Darren, he had decent performances against good guys like McDonagh and Barker at higher weights and I was nowhere near my best in last fight so, to people looking in, it’s a decent fight.”

“But genuinely I showed nowhere near what I’m capable of over the last while and I plan on changing that and putting on a stand out performance on June 24th.”

“I want people walking away from stadium with sense of excitement of things to come not just a run of the mill win. And, with the way I’m feeling three weeks into camp, I plan on showcasing a stand out performance.”

Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography

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