05 January 2009 – By Padraig De Hora
Promoter Gary Hyde has promised that his three Cuban charges will make the world sit up and take notice in 2009.
The Cork-based businessman will run the first Irish professional boxing card of the year at the Silversrpings Moran Hotel on the outskirts Cork City this Saturday night, January 17.
Heads were turned when Hyde decided to match heavyweight Mike Perez and super-middleweight Luis Garcia with so-called “live” opponents who could be a serious threat to their unbeaten records.
Southpaw Perez (6-0, 5 KO) will face Holland’s Harry Duiven Jr (13-5, 11 KO) over six threes. Duiven Jr went the distance with the heavily-touted Odlianer Solis last June. It is a big step up in class for Perez, but Hyde is convinced he will rise to the challenge.
“We’ve had problems matching Mike with good, strong opponents who will make him work for his victory,” Hyde told irish-boxing.com
“He has been cleaning everyone out in sparring, including British prospect Derek Chisora, who didn’t want to know after Mike worked him so hard. Glenn McCrory, whose gym in Newcastle the lads have prepared in, has been waxing lyrical about him. So it’s time for a really good test of his abilities.
“I want to get the message out there that I won’t fool the Irish boxing public. I got a fella’ in with an unbeaten record at my last show in Cork on the recommendation of a matchmaker but was embarrassed when I saw him. He was disastrous so I will trust my own instincts from now on.
“I will be doing the matchmaking myself and will make sure that every opponent is better than the last. There will be no pushovers or opponents to pad records.
“What good is a first-round knockout every time? Mike needs a better level of competition if he is going to be the heavyweight champion of the world.
“Harry Duiven Jr has been in with Solis and lasted the distance, so I want Mike to go one better. If he knocks him out, which I am confident he can do, then the world will take notice.
“Mike Perez is all business and the Cork public will see it on Saturday night.”
Some observers have said Luis Garcia has an even tougher test. Just one fight into his career, Garcia faces Mantas Tarvydas (15-5, 10 KO), a Lithuanian who has been in with undefeated prospects Aleksy Kuziemsky, Vasil Klyusa, Stas Kashtanov, and newly-crowned WBO super-middleweight champion of the world, Karoly Balzsay, who defeated Denis Inkin on January 10. Tarvydas lasted ten rounds with Balzsay last April.
Hyde said, “People say I am mad to put Luis in with such an experienced campaigner but I am 100% convinced by what I have got. Luis is incredible – fans are in for a treat. If we increase the level of competition and Luis keeps winning, then imagine what kind of standing he will have at the end of 2009?
“There will be no easy ride for my lads, but they are exceptionallt dedicated. Mike has really settled down since his two compatriots came to Cork and they have brought out the best in each other.”
In the other two contests, Alexei Acosta (1-0, 1 KO), recovering from a slight hand injury, should have too much for Laurent Ucristinel Balmau, while Limerick’s charasmatic crowd-pleaser Jamie Power (3-0, 2 KO) takes on Belfast’s popular Ciaran Healy (9-10-1, 2 KO) at light-heavyweight. All contests are over six three-minute rounds.
The card will be in a dinner-show format. A table costs 1,000 with ten per table. There will be a four-course meal and a bar extension before and after the action. Gary Hyde can be contacted on 087 2424898 for tickets. There is no formal dress code.
The show was put together at the last minute after a card promoted by Kieran Joyce in Youghal on January 16 was cancelled. Hyde’s three fghters were to appear.
“I am not going to be making money off this show, let’s be honest,” Hyde admitted.
But I would rather take the finacial hit and let my lads see some serious action in the ring. They are raring to go – it would have been a terrible waste for them to have done all that preparation and not fought.
“I’m asking fans to support the show if they can – I promise it will be a great night for Cork and Irish boxing.”