herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Fitzgerald in title hunt

Pride of Dublin plans to be champ again

Anthony Fitzgerald is looking to put himself back on the title trail with his July 4 fight at the National Stadium on the Frank Warren-MGM New Beginning show.

Last November, in a fight the public were eager to see, the Dubliner lasted just 1 minute 15 seconds against Gary 'Spike' O'Sullivan at the 3Arena. Despite the pre-bout trash talk, Fitzgerald handled his defeat with style, shaking hands and congratulating O'Sullivan afterwards.

He shrugs off the result. "It was just another loss," he says. "With the team I have around me, and the great supporters who stuck with me, it wasn't hard to come back from it. There was a bit of a weight difference too. You put it down to experience."

Last month Fitzgerald won a six-round fight in Preston. He knows a convincing win at light middleweight on July 4 will put him back in the frame for an Inter-Continental or European title shot.

"It's an important fight," he stresses. "I want a big fight. I have to win this one. Then I'll get a title fight. If I lose, I won't. So it's a big test for me."

A former Irish super-middleweight champion and holder of the old EBA European belt, Fitzgerald (17-7, 4 KOs) has never been shy of pitting himself against the best. He took Andy Lee, Hassan N'Dam and Eamonn O'Kane the distance. "Eamonn is going for a world title now," he reminds me. "Spike just won the NABA title in Boston. He should get a world title shot now. Hassan N'Dam is a former world champion going for another world title. There was a size difference with each of them. Andy Lee is a world champion."

Fitzy feels it's time he should be lifting a belt too. Particularly since he's been sparring at the MGM in Marbella against men who've been fighting for titles.

"It gives you a boost when you're sparring them and holding your own and they're top prospects who're going for titles. So you're thinking, "If they're going for world titles, why can't I?"

Known as the 'Pride of Dublin' because of his jab ('the pride'), Fitzgerald has been working hard to develop more punching power.

"I've been working on it with strength and conditioning and how to keep that power when I come down to light middle," he explains.

"That weight suits me better. It'll be closer to my walking around weight."

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