Bernard Dunne returns to action in his native Dublin on October 14th when he clashes with Noel Wilders for the vacant IBC super bantamweight title at the National Stadium. It will be the 25-year-old’s first twelve-round bout and his first outing in the super bantamweight division.
Since turning pro in 2001 and compiling a sixteen fight unbeaten record Dunne has campaigned at featherweight but he doesn’t anticipate any problems getting down to 122 lbs.
“I’ve a good team of people around me and I’m working with a nutritionist now. I don’t see any problems at all making the new weight and I’m just delighted to be fighting for a title now. This will be my first opportunity to become a champion in the pros and while the IBC might not be the most recognised world title it’s a great steppingstone.”
Dunne moved back home to Ireland last year after serving his professional apprenticeship under the tutelage of the renowned trainer Freddie Roach in Los Angeles. Since his return Dunne has brought about a revival in Irish boxing, headlining two cards in his hometown and scoring two exciting wins over Jim Betts and Yuri Voronin.
Next month’s fight with English southpaw Wilders should provide Dunne with the biggest test of his career, but manager Brian Peters feels that his protégé is ready for it.
“This will be Bernard’s first twelve round fight and Wilders will represent a new kind of challenge. He’s a very experienced fighter and a former British and European champion, so this will be a big test for Bernard.”
Dunne’s fight will be one of two IBC world title fights on the card. In the chief support bout Dublin’s Jim Rock will clash with Welshman Alan Jones for the IBC middleweight title.
Peters is delighted to be working with the IBC and hopes that should Dunne and Rock prevail next month the titles will help attract the big names to Dublin.
“The IBC might not be considered one of the major World titles but legends like Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and James Toney have fought for IBC titles in the past. Ricky Hatton used a minor World title as a stepping stone to where he is now and hopefully Bernard can do the same thing.
“If Bernard and Jim win the IBC titles next month then I will be trying to attract some very big names to Dublin for future title defences. I‘m looking forward to making the kind of fights that all boxing fans would like to see and I’m willing to work with promoters and fighters from all over the world to make those fights.”
Dunne is also open to the possibility of returning to the U.S. to fight at some point in the future. “I really enjoyed my time over there and learned so much”, he said. “I know Brian has had plenty of offers for me to go back to the States and I've always said if the right fight comes up over there I'd love to go back so we'll see what happens. First though, I need to concentrate on beating Noel Wilders and winning the IBC title.”
For Rock, next month’s fight offers the opportunity to avenge a controversial points defeat to Alan Jones in 2003. “I’ve definitely a score to settle with Jones,” admitted Rock. “I thought I beat him first time around but this time I’m going to stop him and leave no doubts about the result.”
Also featuring on the card is super middleweight Brian Magee. The Belfast man is coming off a controversial points defeat in Germany for the European title against Vitali Tsypko. Magee will meet reigning Scottish super middleweight champion Tommy Cannon as he looks to build towards a second European title shot later in the year.
Former European amateur champion Paul Griffin will also feature on the bill. The 34-year-old will take on former Dunne victim Jim Betts.
Oklahoma-based Dubliner Oisin Fagan is also set to make his hometown debut on next month’s card. The current Oklahoma State lightweight champ gave Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. the toughest fight of his career when they met in Las Vegas last year. Fagan’s opponent will be confirmed shortly.
Lurgan’s Stephen Haughian completes the line-up. The light welterweight prospect will be looking for his second pro win against an as yet unnamed opponent.
Tickets for “World Title Fight Night” are priced at €40, €50, €75 and €100 and are available online from TicketMaster or by calling 0818719300.