27 February 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
Motherwells Barry Morrison (17-3, 7KO) has told irish-boxing.com that he faces the stiffest test of his career when he squares off with Dungivens Paul McCloskey (18-0, 8KO) for the British light-welterweight title on March 13.
Former champion Morrison lifted the 10 stone title in 2007 with a points victory over Lenny Daws. However, defeats in his first defence to former McCloskey foe Colin Lynes and in a subsequent challenge against David Barnes mean Barnes is going for broke against the slick Irishman.
The 28-year-old admits he is up against it.
This is the hardest fight of my career, he said over the telephone.
You look at his record and realise that none of the other guys have the names on their records that Paul does. He has beaten some big names. I remember him in the amateurs, especially in the 1996 Gaelic Games but we never fought.
Few have managed to fully test the unorthodox McCloskey in his unbeaten professional career perhaps with the exception of Englishman Nigel Wright who dragged him in to a war in Limerick last year. Perhaps because of this Morrison is working on versatility in his training.
Ive prepared well. I was 10 stone 4lbs the other night the last couple of weeks are the hardest but Ive been doing the weight since I was 17. In relation to the boxing, obviously I will try different things. I have been sparring slippery and stand up southpaws, different styles of southpaw to be ready for whatever Paul does.
To the shock and chagrin of Irish boxing fans the bout will take place in the Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes to accommodate TV paymasters Sky. It had been speculated that the bout would take place at Belfasts Kings Hall.
Its down to the TV people, said Morrison. I think there will still be a fair number of Scots and Irish going to it so there should be a good atmosphere.
Stay tuned to irish-boxing.com next week for an exclusive interview with Paul McCloskey.