herald

Monday 15 October 2018

Blaney ready to storm stadium

Two cancelled flights and a ferry later, Chris ready to be Last Man Standing

Confident: Chris Blaney is bullish ahead of tomorrow’s Last Man Standing
Confident: Chris Blaney is bullish ahead of tomorrow’s Last Man Standing

Tomorrow night is not quite make-or-break for any of the eight fighters contesting the Last Man Standing competition in the National Stadium - but it could certainly make the winner's career.

With well in excess of €50,000 up for grabs on a historic night for Irish boxing, winning the tournament, which will be broadcast live on TG4, could launch a fighter.

That's something Chris Blaney is hoping will happen as the 'Ginger Ninja' puts his unbeaten record on the line in the hope he can become the first Last Man Standing from Ireland.

Of course, it has been a chaotic week across the country with the 'Beast From The East' playing havoc, and Storm Emma landing last night.

Blaney, based in the UK with Ricky Hatton's gym, experienced difficulty getting home for the tournament, arriving back yesterday afternoon via ferry.

"It's been a weird week, to be honest," the Navan fighter told the Herald yesterday evening.

Smooth

"I finished up camp last Saturday and everything was lovely and smooth, but then getting home proved tough.

"Two flights were cancelled and I ended up getting the boat home - I'm actually only in the door a couple of hours. But I'm here now and am looking forward to fighting.

"I don't think the format will inconvenience me. I'm only around 18 months out of the amateurs and just had my first eight-rounder last time out.

"We've prepared very well in training, adapted to the format and myself and Ricky have gone through all of our potential opponents.

"I really don't see too many in there who will trouble me, not many of them are real come-forward, pressure fighters, so I'm confident.

"Obviously, JJ McDonagh has plenty of power and Roy Sheahan comes in with plenty of amateur pedigree, but I fought Roy not too long ago and it was a close fight.

"He's been out of the ring for over two years until very recently and I've come on loads in that time.

"The fact that he's been inactive so long and I've had nine wins certainly makes things different."

Sheahan, who recently made his pro debut with a victory to blow off the cobwebs, is raring to go.

'The Joker' outpointed experienced journeyman Jordan Grannum over four rounds in York Hall last month and is many people's favourite to take the big prize.

Sheahan is a four-time national senior champion so, in theory, the tournament format will suit him, but Sheahan played down his tag as a front-runner to the Herald last night.

"Fair enough, I have the pedigree that they've been talking about.

"But in fairness, the rest of the lads have been in the ring, in the pros, for the last couple of years while I've been working on a building site," said Sheahan.

So they have the advantage in that sense. Plus, the pro game and the amateur game are very different styles.

"But I was glad to get into the ring a few weeks ago to blow off the ring rust. I'm not sure if it's all gone, but we'll find out on the night.

"Training has been going great, though, and I'm really looking forward to getting in there now, especially after the strange week we've had with the snow."

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