26th July 2011
Martin Rogan by Russell Pritchard
Former Commonwealth heavyweight champion and Prizefighter winner, Martin Rogan has accepted Tyson Fury’s challenge to face him and is willing to battle the new British heavyweight champion later this year.

Fury (15-0, 10KOs) claimed the British and Commonwealth straps with a convincing points win over London’s Dereck Chisora last Saturday and then mentioned a possible showdown with to 40-year-old Irishman Rogan (14-2, 7KOs).

Rogan, is being lined up to fight for an EU title this October but will gladly cancel that fight in favour of a showdown with Fury in his home town of Belfast and the opportunity to contest four domestic belts with Fury.

Manchester born Fury 22, is of fighting Irish stock, his father was born in Ireland and came to the England when he was a lad and his mother, born in Manchester is of Irish stock also. So Fury has designs on winning that belt to pay respects to his heritage and sees Rogan as the ideal opponent to face and the Belfast cab driver by day, willingly accepts after holding talks with his management team this week.
Fury beats Chisora for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles – pic courtesy tysonfury.com
Rogan was a ringside when for Fury’s win over Chisora on points at Wembley Arena last Saturday and revealed he was asked to stand in as a reserve challenger behind Chisora, should he have pulled out anytime leading up to the contest.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Rogan said: “I told (promoter) Mick Hennessy that a fight between me and Tyson would sell out the Odyssey Arena in Belfast; it’s the type of fight the public is crying out for.

“We could throw the Irish and Celtic titles in for good measure – it could be one of the greatest Irish heavyweight fights in history.

“If the price was right, I would get in with Tyson instead of the EU bout. The question is; would he be ready for another fight this year? I am due to fight in October.

“The public would welcome the opportunity to see two Irish heavyweight fighters meet for the British, Commonwealth, Irish and Celtic titles all at once – it would be something special to be part of.”

“The promoters know this, so they should make it happen and I believe I would get the job done.” added Rogan.

The fight could well be an added bonus to the September Belfast boxing show and the return of Paul McCloskey, which also features Carl Frampton’s European Super Bantamweight title challenge against Kiko Martinez.

McCloskey will face Breidis Prescott in a eliminator for the WBA light-welterweight title at the Odyssey Arena on Saturday 10 September, which will be shown live on Sky Sports.

It will be McCloskey’s first fight since his world title challenge against Amir Khan in Manchester on April 16 which ended in controversy after the fight was stopped in the sixth round when he suffered a cut through a clash of heads with the champion. The Khan loss is the only defeat on McCloskey’s 23 fight record and the 31 year-old gets the chance to get straight back in the picture against the only man to beat Khan, Breidis Prescott.

“We’re going for the man that Amir couldn’t beat,” said McCloskey. “I could’ve gone for an easier fight but I don’t feel like a beaten fighter so why should I go for anything but the best.

“Breidis Prescott is as tough an opponent as you could ask for but I want to fight the best fighters out there. I’m not looking to chase Khan for the rest of my career – I want to be a world champion. I’ll fight anyone to reach that goal and I know I belong at world level.

“The support in Manchester was such a boost on the night, and on September 10 there will be twice as many inside the Odyssey Arena so it’s going to be something special.”

The 28 year-old Colombian stunned Khan in September 2008, knocking out the Brit inside a minute of the opening round at the MEN Arena to wrestle the WBO Inter-Continental title from his grip. Now, Prescott and McCloskey will meet in Belfast with a world title shot on the line, in a fight that Hearn says is for the fans.

“Paul’s fans were simply incredible in Manchester and to get travelling support like that was breathtaking,” said Hearn. “We wanted to give Paul and his fans a huge homecoming fight and we have delivered that in Breidis Prescott. The Amir Khan experience was obviously disappointing but what better way to come back from that by beating the only man to have ever beaten him?

“Paul is one win away from another crack at a world title and it’s going to be a special night at the Odyssey. The undercard will be packed with Irish talent and the atmosphere electric as Dudey’s Army gets on the march again.”

Since beating Khan, Prescott has fought in the UK against Kevin Mitchell in Newcastle in December 2009, losing out to the Essex man for the WBO Inter-Intercontinental title on points. The Miami-based Colombian has claimed three wins since that defeat and believes that both men will be eyeing up a second shot at Khan should they come out on top.

“I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to fight Paul McCloskey,” said Prescott. “I want to thank everyone involved in making this fight possible. I promise that if Amir is watching, and he happened to forget what occurred back in 2008, I will give him a reminder by my performance on September 10. I can only hope that after I win, Amir keeps his promise and gets back in the ring with me. I will see everyone on September 10.”

Tickets for Paul McCloskey vs. Breidis Prescott plus a full championship undercard to be announced soon go on sale on at 9am on Thursday morning (July 20) priced at £30-£200 (tickets may be subject to service charge) and available from the Odyssey Arena Box Office on 02890 73 9074, Ticketmaster 0844 277 4455 (24 hour).

Tickets are also available
in person from the Odyssey Arena Box Office, at Ticketmaster outlets, and online from www.ticketmaster.ie.