With just five weeks remaining until the WBA Super-Bantamweight title fight in Dublin, Willie Casey has completed his three day media exercise around the country publicising the eagerly anticipated super-fight in Citywest March 19.
The Montonette Hotel was the stage for their first encounter and what a reception both men received. Rigondeaux wowed the 500 strong crowd with some breath-taking pad-work with legendary trainer Tony Dunlop. The roar of the evening was without a doubt Casey’s to claim when he arrived to rapturous cheers, much to the dismay of the world champion’s Cork based manager Gary Hyde. The two Champions faced-off inside the ring catapulting the crowd into further hysteria.
From the Rebel County both camps arrived in Dublin for the Dolphil promoted box-fest last Sunday. Just before the main event of Anthony Fitzgerald and Lee Murtagh, Guillermo Rigondeaux and Willie Casey were called into the ring for another face-off much to the delight of Casey’s Dublin based fans.
At Mondays press conference in Thomond Park it was down to business and Willie described what exactly this fight means to him. “I am honoured to be challenging for this title and to be following in the footsteps of Bernard Dunne and all the other Irish world title challengers. Rigondeaux is a great fighter a brilliant amateur and he has done well to win the world title in just seven fights. But as they say you can take the fighter out of the amateurs but you can’t take the amateur out of the boxer,”
“I will train as hard as I can to keep this belt in Ireland. We have to be wary of Rigo, he is a class operator and a very skilful boxer. But this isn’t the amateurs skill isn’t everything here. I will show him what its like to be in a fight and I will never give up. Fight and determination count for a lot in boxing and I have lots of that. I will keeping coming and after the sixth round hopefully we can do some damage.”
World Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux came across relaxed and confident, later he privately revealed that he has not seen any of Casey’s fights .
“I have over 400 fights and I have won ever and medal available at amateur level. There is nothing Willie can bring that I haven’t seen. I am a road warrior. I have been to every country and won. I can adapt my style to beat anyone and I will do that against Willie Casey.”
“You think boxing is about strength and that it is brutal, but it is a thinking mans game. The fighter who uses his head wins. I am never nervous getting into the ring. Before all my bouts including this one my opponent has been shouting about what they are going to do to me. But I just wait for the bell and get to work then. I am confident, calm and collective in the ring. Fighting is as natural as drinking a glass of water for me. Ricardo Cordoba told me before I won the belt to get ready for action after the sixth round, but I didn’t see him from the first to till the last bell and I took the belt.”
With RTE announcing their decision not to air the fight live an interesting question from popular boxing pundit and journalist Stephen Sharpe arrived towards the end asking “If RTE do not come onboard for this fight will we be watching fights on RTE from other promoters?”
The one-line answer from Gary Hyde was “RTE would have a lot to answer for if that were to be the case, this is one of the biggest fights in Irish boxing history and it‘s been handed to them on a plate“. Indeed both Dolphil Promotions and Nowhere2Hyde decided to host the fight March 19 to coincide with the Ireland v England rugby match which will be Live on RTE 2 that day.