August 8 Jonny Stapleton
Paul McCloskey has taken inspiration from Northern Ireland’s tremendous golfing trio as he prepares for another assault at World dominance.
The Dungiven star challenges Breidis Presscott in a WBA World title eliminator in the Odyssey Arena on September 10 and claims the performances of Open winners Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy and Graham McDowell have helped instil further the self belief he can relies his World title dream.
‘Dudey’, whose Prescott preparations are now in full swing, stressed if the golfers can compete at the highest level of their chosen profession there is no reason he can’t.
“I do take inspiration from the golfers. I take inspiration from anyone who makes a positive impact and puts back into the community. You watch those lads on TV and they proved they can compete at the top level. Clarke, McClroy and G Mac are all Icons now. You do think to yourself I want to be in that position. You tell yourself if they can do it why can’t I? I think Irish boxing over the last number of years professionally and amateur is up at world class, just like the golfers are now. We are world renowned at amateur level. We pick medals up in every tournament we enter and the pro’s are collecting more and more belts.”
The golfers antics may have given the former European champion a boost, but surprisingly so did former foe Amir Khan’s performance against Zab Judah.
The now WBA and IBF champion comprehensively saw off Judah in their unification bout, something he failed to do against McCloskey in Manchester earlier this year.
Despite loosing controversially to the Golden Boy star the Derry stylist made Khan, a fighter now deemed to be on the pound for pound trail, look average in patches.
The Freddie Roach trained fighters performance against former world champ showed he is anything but standard and does confirm McCloskey deserves another shot at the elite.
“A few people got onto me saying ‘Khan destroyed a world champion in five rounds but couldn’t lay a glove on you’. Obviously I lost the fight but it was under controversial circumstances after a clash of heads. His display gives you a bit of a confident boost and proves I am at world level. But you don’t just wake up in the morning and get that type of confidence. You have to work hard and train hard. I have ability but you have work hard too.”