Macklin bill a feast for Irish
Get your Irish up! It's official. The fight Irish boxing fans have been waiting for. One-time Tipperary hurler Matthew Macklin will meet Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez in Madison Square Garden in a world title bout on St Patrick's Day.
This starstudded Lou DiBella promotion is being billed as "The REAL Middleweight Championship -- Get Your Irish Up!" Andy Lee will also be on the bill. Andy Murray is expected to have his first bout back since his European title defeat by Gavin Rees. And DiBella wants New York's Navanman light-heavyweight Seanie Monaghan on the bill as well.
"I'm very confident that I will be middleweight champion of the world," says Macklin. "I will feel like I'm fighting in Dublin. Martinez is the slicker fighter. He's the faster fighter and he's a southpaw. I'm the bigger and stronger fighter. If I can make him fight, I like my chances there. I'm coming forward. I'm coming to win."
Tims targets title
He may have been featuring in lurid headlines away from the sports pages but there's plenty of goodwill in boxing circles for Ian Tims, who flies to Finland on Wednesday to contest the EBU-European Union cruiserweight title against local holder Juho Haapoja (16-2-1).
The 32-year-old Dubliner, unbeaten in nine pro bouts, has been training with Paschal Collins at the Celtic Warrior Gym.
"Ian's fitness is great," says Collins.
No slouch, Collins knows full well that Tims is going to have to be emphatic in Finland next Saturday night. "This guy is tough but Ian's a lovely counter-puncher and he has guts," he added.
Amateur clubs around the country are buzzing. An impressive 123 boxers entered this year's Open Youth Competition. The finals are being decided at the National Stadium today. The first contest gloves off at 11am.
Guillermo Rigondeaux contests the WBA world super bantamweight title against Rico Ramos (20-0) on Friday in Las Vegas. It will be Rigondeaux's (8-0) first bout since he beat Willie Casey last March. Casey has split from his manager Gary Hyde.