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Dublin: 7 °C Saturday 25 January, 2020
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Dudey ready to bounce back against Prescott

Tonight’s going to be a busy night of boxing at home and abroad. Gavin Grace takes us through it.

McCloskey and Prescott go toe-to-toe at yesterday's weigh-in.
McCloskey and Prescott go toe-to-toe at yesterday's weigh-in.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Jonathan Porter

“WE’RE NOT SLEEPING and dreaming about Amir Khan, we just want Paul to be world champion.”

Paul McCloskey’s coach John Breen insists Amir Khan means little to his man, but whether he likes it or not, ‘Dudey’ is now known more for his loss to the Bolton native than for any of his wins.  Tonight, he begins in his quest to change that.

It’s five months since McCloskey controversially lost to Khan, a fight which was stopped prematurely due to a seemingly innocuous cut over McCloskey’s eye.  He’d lost every round until that point, but was frustrating his opponent and Breen “knows” a knockout was coming soon.

Tonight, Paul McCloskey attempts to forget Khan by fighting the only man who ever beat him.  It’s just three years since Colombian Bredis Prescott knocked out the Olympic medallist in 54 seconds, a result which stunned the boxing world.

However, while the loser became a stronger fighter after this, Prescott’s career has stalled.  In his six fights since, he’s experienced two defeats and knocked out only one opponent, the non-descript Jason Davis.

That doesn’t mean that he should be underestimated, however.  He can clearly punch, and a win would catapult him back among the top class of fighters.  McCloskey’s evasive style should be enough to secure him a win tonight, probably via points, but he needs to stay on his guard.  Should ‘Dudey’ do just that, then John Breen’s dream of winning a World Title would be one large step closer.

Tonight also sees Belfast’s Carl Frampton in action at the Odyssey Arena.  He’s taking on Australian Mark Quon for the vacant Commonwealth Title.  As a late replacement opponent (Quon only took the fight last Sunday), it’s not a bad test for Frampton, but if he doesn’t pass it easily, then that would be a major surprise.

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Two months after the last big heavyweight title fight, tonight sees the ‘other’ Klitschko take to the ring.  Vitali’s fight against Tomasz Adamek bears many similarities to the clash of his brother Wladimir and David Haye in July.  As was the case then, tonight’s Klitschko will be a bigger man going up against a smaller opponent, an opponent with pedigree at cruiserweight but not the top division.

Adamek is no mug though.  He’s won 44 of his 45 fights (including a comprehensive victory last time out against Ireland’s Kevin McBride), and while he is an underdog, he will have the support of his countrymen in Poland tonight.

In one other way, tonight’s fight is like Haye’s failed attempt to become World Champion in July.  The angle is not being played up as much over here, but a win for Adamek would shake up the heavyweight division, and breathe some new life into boxing.

Meanwhile, speaking of David Haye (who is still pondering over his future), he seemed to have been given a lifeline by Vitali this week.  The elder Klitschko opened the door to a fight between them by saying he “wishes” Wladimir knocked him out.

I will be very happy to do that, to knock him out in the future. It will be good for my personal ego to send him to the floor.

Also tonight, in Atlantic City, the unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa takes on Daniel Ponce de Leon in what should be a compelling featherweight contest.

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The mysterious death of Arturo Gatti has hit the headlines once again.  Always a warrior in the ring, Gatti died in Brazil in 2009 and his wife Amanda Rodrigues was subsequently arrested for his murder.  She was later released, with his death ruled as a suicide, but this week prosecutors in New Jersey clamed this was an incorrect decision.

The investigation has been re-opened.

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As the world remembers 9/11 this weekend, check out this fine read about the 2001 contest between Bernard Hopkins and Felix Trinidad, which was postponed following the attacks.

This week in boxing history

The finest professional boxing nights to be held in Ireland this side of Barry McGuigan were Steve Collins’s wins over Chris Eubank in 1995.

To see a brash Brit bested by an Irishman would always sell well here, and Collins was more than happy to oblige with a pair of wins against his Super-Middleweight rival.

His first win was more emphatic, but his second win on 9 September 1995 came in more dramatic circumstances, and in a fight which attracted plenty of attention.

For the Dubliner, it would be the high-point of a strong finale to his career.

Un-caged: Rampage wants his belt back

The sports week in pictures

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Gavin Grace

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