By Alex McGreevy
The British Boxing Board of Control has denied Martin Rogan’s his dream of challenging for the WBU heavyweight title in Belfast next month. The governing body of boxing in the UK is refusing to recognise the WBU organisation owned by US-based Dan ‘Moose’ Lewis, but has yet to inform Rogan of its decision, according to sources.
Belfast-born Rogan had been enlisted by the WBU as its heavyweight contender to face Panamanian Luis Andres Pineda at the Odyssey Arena on October 27.
Last night Rogan said he was “puzzled”by the BBBofC’s position.
“This has come as a bolt from the blue for me,” said Rogan.
“I got word that the board was meeting to discuss the fight and the WBU on Wednesday night. This is the same body that recognised the WBU when Ricky Hatton was a champion, Eamonn Magee and Micky Ward. So I am at odds to understand why it’s good enough for some but not for me.
“I have done everything by the book; I have paid all the fees asked of me and I have paid for a promotional licence too. I am asking why but I have not been given any answers. I tried calling the board many times without success but I am sure I will find out in the next few days.
“How come it is okay for the likes of Ricky Hatton to fight for and defend a WBU title in the UK but not okay for a guy from Belfast to fight for one in his home town?”
Rogan confirmed that his date at the Odyssey Arena next month remains booked and it is understood the fighter is looking at other options.
The news will increase speculation that heavyweight Tyson Fury, who marks his King’s Hall debut on Saturday could return to the city to face Rogan. The pair clashed earlier this month at a press conference after Rogan turned down an opportunity to challenge for Fury’s Commonwealth and British belts.
It is unlikely the Boxing Union of Ireland will recognise the WBU belt but while the organisation only claims affiliation to the WBC, WBA and the EBU, it recently sanctioned World Boxing Foundation title fights involving light-middleweight Henry Coyle and featherweight Patrick Hyland.
While promoter Dan Lewis claims ownership of the WBU body there are German-based claims on the belt also.
While Tyson Fury fights in Belfast tomorrow evening – the one hot topic at ringside will be the possibility of reviving the showdown the public wants between the Englishman with claims of Irish roots from Galway to Antrim, and Rogan, who claims to be Ireland’s number one heavyweight.