19 August 2008 – by Cormac Campbell
For too long it seems that Paul McCloskey has fallen in to the high risk low reward bracket that has hindered the careers of countless gifted boxers.
The slick, hit-and-not-be-hit approach may have earned the 29-year-old 17 straight victories, but it has done little to advance the Dungiven mans chances of title shot.
In such instances all a boxer can do is force his way in to the mandatory positions and wait.
It is hoped that victory over Nigel Wright in July will force British champion David Barnes to fight McCloskey or vacate his title. Although the Limerick date with Wright was not officially regarded as a final eliminator by the BBBC, it had all the makings of one and is unlikely to have passed by unnoticed by either Barnes or the governing body.
The fight with Wright didnt exactly go according to plan but, as McCloskey tells irish-boxing.com, the brawling nature of the contest did him no harm whatsoever.
Considering I had to change my game plan it went fairly well, he admitted.
I got a headbutt early on and my eye pretty much popped out and was very swollen which has never happened before. It was my lead eye as well so I couldnt even judge the jabs properly.
So I had to just go for a tear up.
I trained really hard for the fight and proved I can go 10 rounds no problem. I was pleased that I got to fight that kind of fight at this stage of my career because people have now seen that I can box but they would have been asking if I can fight. And I proved that I can. It wasnt a case of plan A or plan B its just that Im prepared to fight if I need to.”
The Wright fight followed Marchs victory over former World Champion Cesar Bazan and proves that Ring Magazines declaration that the former St Canices boxer is the worlds most over protected light-welterweight prospect is hollow.
It seems all systems are go, and with coach John Breen and promoter Brian Peters attempting to secure an imminent title shot, McCloskey has been waiting in the wings ticking over in training and working in the shop he owns in his hometown.
Im hoping to hear in the next couple of weeks. There is still a lot of talking to be done yet. But hopefully we can get something on paper,” he revealed
Apparently Barnes may vacate the title, but I dont know so it really is out of my hands.
Another potential opponent is veteran European champion Gianluca Branco, who relieved Colin Lynes of his title in May.
If we could get Branco I would love a shot at him. I saw him when he beat Colin Lynes and I think Colin threw the fight away that night,” he argued.
The earliest you would be talking is late September or early October, but it is only guess work at the moment. Im training at home at the minute – Im within three stone of the division at the minute., he joked.
But when I get word Ill be back up to John in Belfast.