DUBLIN, Ireland (January 12, 2006) – Bernard Dunne will finally get in on with former European and British Champion Noel Wilders at the National Stadium, Dublin on January 28th.
However Wilders will cross the Irish Sea armed with a warning for Dunne – be careful what you wish for!
Dunne had been scheduled to meet the Yorkshire man last October but Wilders pulled out at short notice leaving his stable mate Sean Hughes to step into the breach.
Hughes was disposed of in just two rounds but Wilders promises to be a far stiffer challenge for Dunne.
The Castleford based southpaw certainly has an excellent track record having won the European bantamweight title in 2003. Wilders had to do it the hard way travelling to France to win the title against local man Fabien Guillerme.
In 2004 Wilders travelled to South Africa to take on the fearsome puncher, Silence Mabuza for his IBO World title so he is certainly a man that is not afraid to travel to his opponents back yard.
That will be the case again later this month when Wilders enters the white-hot atmosphere of the National Stadium to take on Dunne.
Wilders had contemplated retirement after withdrawing from the original date with Dunne last year but having seen rival and near neighbour Michael Hunter pick up the European super bantamweight title he says he’s rediscovered his hunger for the sport.
“Noel took some time to think about his future after he pulled out of the fight with Bernard,” explained his manager Michael Marsden. “He was a bit fed up with the sport I think but he’s gone away, thought about it and decided he really wants a shot at Michael Hunter’s titles.”
“He knows a win over Bernard will put him right back in contention to win another European title so he’s really up for the fight this time. He’s trained all through Christmas and the New Year and I think the break from the gym has done him good.”
Team Dunne are just as keen for the fight though. The Neilstown puncher’s manager Brian Peters said, “I’m delighted that Wilders has accepted the fight because I know Bernard was very disappointed when the fight fell through in October. Bernard wants to test himself and improve with every fight and there’s no doubting Wilders is a very stiff test.”
“He was a very dominant British Champion and then went on to pick up the IBO World title and of course the European title. He has some very good wins on his record over former World title challengers like Francis Ampofo and Paul Lloyd so he’s definitely another step up for Bernard.”
Wilders is also still highly rated in the European boxing rankings and knows that a win over Dunne would rubberstamp his claims for a big North of England Derby clash with recently crowned European, Commonwealth and British champ, Hunter.
Hunter though is also in Dunne’s sights and the Dubliner is determined to add the European champion to his list of scalps in 2006. Before Hunter can be dealt with though Dunne has to overcome the challenge of Wilders. With a European title fight at stake neither man can afford to lose this one.
The Dunne–Wilders fight headlines an exciting night of boxing at the National Stadium. In the chief support bout Michael Gomez will make a long awaited and emotional return to the land of his birth when he takes on Peter McDonagh for the Irish Lightweight title.
Gomez (real name Armstrong) was born in Longford but has been based in Manchester since he was a child. The colourful and crowd pleasing fighter was so desperate to fight in Ireland that he turned down the offer of a World title fight in order to go ahead with his Dublin date.
McDonagh though will be hoping to turn Gomez’s homecoming into a nightmare and the London based Galwegian has trained like never before for what is the biggest fight of his career.
There was clearly bad blood between the two men at the pre fight press conference and sparks will certainly fly when the two clash in the ring on January 28th.
Another special attraction on the night is the addition of Belfast’s World rated, Brian Magee to the card. Magee is scheduled to challenge British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion Carl Froch in Belfast in March so he can’t afford any slip-ups on his Dublin outing.
Magee faces the durable Daniil Prakapsou over eight rounds on this months card.
Another fighter with plenty at stake is Dublin heavyweight, Colin Kenna, brother of former Irish soccer international Jeff. The Southampton based fighter is the current English Southern Area Champion and getting ever closer to a British title fight.
He is also desperate to lure Kevin McBride into the ring and relieve him of his Irish heavyweight title. Kenna will square off with the underrated Luke Simpkin in Dublin.
The stakes are also high for Belfast super featherweight Kevin O’ Hara who looks set for a real battle with Englishman Steve Chinnock. The winner of this fight should be catapulted back into title contention while the loser will be forced in to the boxing wilderness so it’s a real crossroads fight for both men.
Unbeaten light welterweight prospect Stephen Haughian also makes an appearance on the National Stadium card. The Armagh teenager is tipped for the top by trainer John Breen and has so far racked up four straight wins and looks to be one to watch for the future.
A limited number of tickets are still available from Ticketmaster on the web at TicketMaster.ie or over the phone on 0818 719300.
Saturday 28th of January, 2006
National Stadium, Dublin
• Bernard Dunne V Noel Wilders - 10 Round Super Bantamweight Contest
• Michael Gomez V Peter McDonagh - 10 Rounds for the Irish Lightweight Title
• Brian Magee V Daniil Prakapsou - 8 Round Super Middleweight Contest
• Colin Kenna V Luke Simpkin - 8 Round Heavyweight Contest
• Kevin O’ Hara V Steve Chinnock - 8 Round Super Featherweight Contest
• And Stephen Haughian featuring in a 4 Round, Light Welterweight Contest