2 May 2010 – By Steve Wellings
Paddy McDonaghs fledgling career hits a steep incline on May 15 when the Mullingar rookie tackles former Irish champion Ciaran Healy on the Andy Lee-Mamadou Thiam undercard.
18-year-old McDonagh (who fights alongside brother JJ) has had only two contests so far in the professional ring but his team view the Healy bout as a firm learning experience for the southpaw.
We want to thank Ciaran Healy for giving us this opportunity, commented manager Tom Ward.
Healys fought the likes of Andy Lee, James DeGale and Jamie Moore over a long career – we cant compete with that level of experience.
They certainly cannot. Irish-boxing.com was ringside in the Holiday Inn as recently as November 2009 when the youngster made his paid debut, outlasting Grigor Sarohanian in the show-opener. We described McDonagh as strong and game, forcing his man back with a steady jab.
He followed that win up with a unanimous four-round verdict over Polands Mariusz Radziszewski in Cork. Ciaran Healy, however, promises to be an entirely different prospect to that 0-4 journeyman.
Its a tough match for only my third professional contest, agreed McDonagh, who has been preparing by sparring Jamie Power.
I enjoyed my spar with Power, who is a cracking boxer, he added, and I feel that Jamies bout with John Waldron is a 50-50 fight, Im not going to pick a winner!
Ive been doing pads, bags and plenty of sparring to prepare for Ciaran Healy; to be meeting someone like him is good experience for me, especially over six rounds. I generally feel that my style suits the professional game more than the amateurs.
Paddy and JJ both gained great experience at the turn of the year when acting as sparring partners for Brian Magee as the Belfastman fine-tuned his skills prior to a successful European title effort in Denmark. Paddy enjoys his day-to-day training regime and thrives on keeping active.
I was pretty nervous before my debut but I settled down and got the win, he said. Me and JJ had our first two fights with Gary Hyde who got us started and now Tom Ward is my manager.
Im not going to look at anything other than Healy at the moment, he is my sole focus. Im only 18 years old so theres plenty of time for me.
Tom Ward was honest with his views of the task McDonagh faces, Paddy is a little nervous but we know what he can do and were not necessarily expecting to win it, he said.
If we just could get on a winning run though, Ward continued, maybe we could aim for a crack at an Irish title at some point. Ciaran Healy went a very close ten rounds with Anthony Fitzgerald in his last fight and with more experience under our belts we can target Fitzgerald, but a long way down the line.
We have links with John Duddys former manager Eddie McLoughlin so that is something we can pursue. You will definitely see Paddy on a card in America at some point.
So long as the super-middleweight staves off the ring rust, he could prove to be an interesting addition to the domestic mix. For now, Ciaran Healy remains a very real threat to his unbeaten record and the chance to make it three wins out of three.
This is a tough fight and you could call it a lose-lose situation for us but were confident of pulling it off, concluded Tom Ward.