August 24 Jonny Stapleton
He may have turned down the chance to do battle with Tyson Fury in the Kings Hall on September 17, but Martin Rogan isn’t giving up his status as Ireland’s leading heavyweight or his Belfast fan base without a fight.
Rogan also traded verbal blows with the big Manchester based heavyweight’s promoter Mick Hennessy as both washed their laundry in the most public of settings.
Talk of contract offers, middlemen, disrespect and so forth dominated the early part of a press conference that just further served to wet the palate for a potential Fury Rogan clash.
“We’ve offered you huge money for this fight. If you’ve got the audacity to say that you will knock out Tyson Fury then step up. I don’t see the Rogan fight happening now. We made contact on August 10,” Hennessey barked before Rogan responded.
“My problem is not with you personally Tyson. You’re a fighter myself and best of luck on September 17. I said no Mick and is that not good enough?”
Fury himself seemed to hold a degree of respect for ‘The Iron Man’. The 22 year old, who finally sorted out his Irish heritage, stressed he still hoped to face 40 year old Rogan, and is eager to add the Irish title to his British and Commonwealth crowns.
“Martin and I have always got on well before now, I came over and sparred when I was 17 years old,” said Fury. I’ve seen Rogan fighting, and beating, top men on TV in a Cinderella story. Regardless of whether we fight or not, I respect him and I can’t wait to show the Belfast public my skills on September 17. My Irish heritage is all sorted as well now and I promised myself that I wanted to win the Irish title. I am eligible to fight for it and I want to win the belt before I move on to European or world titles.
“It’s an honour to fight at this historical hall. I’m really looking forward to headlining in Belfast and I would like to be fighting Martin Rogan but the situation didn’t work out. We spoke after the Chisora fight and agreed that we should fight at the King’s Hall. Coleman Barrett is the Irish champion and Kevin McBride just lost a fight (by knockout) so who else is there? Whoever I fight, it won’t be as big as if I fought Rogan. Still, there’s time yet, we can maybe sort things out.”
No opponents have been confirmed for the fight as of yet, but there is still a possibility Fury could realise his Irish title dream as Hennessy confirmed they are in talks with current Irish champ Coleman Barrett.
“Coleman Barrett was offered the fight and he was quoted in an article on an Irish website (www.irish-boxing.com: read the story herehttp://www.irish-boxing.com/2011/08/barrett-fury-and-rogan-have-to-beat-me-to-be-irelands-best/ ) saying anytime, any place, anywhere and that we have to go through him to get the Irish title. Our matchmaker contacted him, tracked him down and his story became ‘I haven’t fought for a year and I want two warm up fights’ so this is what we’re dealing with”.
Meanwhile the under card will see Stephen Haughian face the former world champion Junior Witter, whilst Irish boxing’s renaissance man Ciaran Healy faces Joe Hillerby. Kevin O’Hara is also in action and could face Irish amateur legend Paul Griffin.