The Pride has punch

1 September 2010 – Steve Wellings

Irish super-middleweight champion Anthony The Pride Fitzgerald is gearing up for his first title defence on September 11, in a bout that is destined to be a barnstormer.

Fitzgerald renews hostilities with fellow Dubliner Robbie Long, a man he suffered his first pro loss to and subsequently gained revenge upon. This is the eagerly anticipated rubber match and Anthony foresees only one logical outcome.

I only have one opinion and that is a win for me, the 25-year-old stated confidently.

The first time we fought each other I didnt have the experience to win but by the second time I had a lot more experience and now for a third time I just see myself having too much for him. A stoppage wouldnt be out of the question but Ill be settling down and letting my shots do the talking, rather than looking for a knockout. He hasnt done ten rounds and hes been pretty inactive too, while Ive been fairly busy.

It seems Fitzgerald has a point. Since his 77-75 rematch victory over Long, at the National Stadium last October, he has fought three times including the title-winning effort over Ciaran Healy in February and a six-round battering of teak tough Ulsterman Phil Townley in City West last month. Long, however, has not fought since their second encounter and has yet to travel the ten-round route.

I was happy to get out there [in City West], continued Anthony, but Phil Townley was tough and took a lot of punishment that he didnt need to take. Fair play to him he took the shots and stayed standing and Im happy with that. I did think he was going but he has a big heart and he stuck it through.

Fitzgeralds stock has risen to the point that he is now eyeing a big money showdown with US-based Derryman John Duddy although whether that match is made remains to be seen. Its indicative of the level the man trained by Phil Sutcliffe is aspiring to.

Im training four times a day for this fight and Im going to be in great shape. Ive been sparring John Waldron, the two McDonagh lads and a few other guys. Im raring to go and put on a show, he added.

The Stadium is the home of boxing (in Dublin) and its great for me to be getting out there again in front of my home fans with the public behind me. Its guaranteed to be a great night on September 11.

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