By Jonny Stapleton
Paul McCloskey believes victory over Julio Diaz and not the manner in which it is achieved is key to moving him a step closer to a covetedworld title shot.
After defeating Breidis Prescott in a WBA world titleeliminator last September the Dungiven southpaw had hoped to fight for worldhonors in his May 5 Kings Hall bout, but a number of ‘road blocks’ preventedhim from enticing a world champion to Belfast.
Eddie Hearn highlighted a lack of American notoriety as oneof those frustrating world title barriers. The promoter revealed he put thelight welterweight contender on the same card as the worldwide broadcast andhigh profile Prizefighter tournament in a bid to help spread the ‘Dudey’gospel.
However, despite having the chance to impress Stateside TVNetworks and enter the radar of the big names on one of the biggest cards tocome to Ireland, renowned stylist McCloskey claims he is not under pressure toput on a show.
The 32 year old former European champion admits its win orbust, but he is adamant he doesn’t have to win pretty to secure a second tiltat a world crown.
“I don’t think how I win really matters. In terms of a worldtitle shot I am right there. I just have to keep winning. Loosing on May 5 isnot an option. I have no doubt the title will come. I am highly ranked. I justhave to keep winning,” McCloskey said.
“The Prescott fight wasn’t a great performance. Thingshappened from day one that put me off and I just had to grind out a win. If Iwould have fought that fight and looked well but got knocked out in the eightround instead of scrapping my way to victory it would have been no use. Winningthe fight is what it is all about. I want to look good but if I have to standand scrap it out. I will.”
The expectant father and his team spent six frustratingmonths and went through over 35 names trying to secure a plausible opponent andbelieve they finally got a man that can further the former European champions career.
Diaz might not havebeen first choice opponent for the former Irish amateur international, but heis a recognized name, will come to fight and is certainly a massive improvementon Curtis Woodhouse.
“For myself, obviously I’d like to be fighting for a world titlebut that’s not the case, we have to just bid our time. We’ve tried to get a lotof fighters in the ring, a while back we had a fight more or less tied up withCurtis Woodhouse and that’s how bad it got. No disrespect to Curtis Woodhouse,we were challenging other fighters – the likes of Zab Judah, Malinaggi, thesethings didn’t happen and we had to get something tied up and Curtis Woodhousewas in the frame at one stage but from him to Julio Diaz it’s been a big change.”
Also See: The Irish Prizfighter 8
McCloskey and Prizefighter press conference in pictures: