By Leonard Gunning
Belfast’s wily ‘Breen Team’ member Ciaran Healy, 10-10-1 (2), enters the highest profile fight of his career later night. He has been handed a four-round showdown against British Olympic gold medal winner James DeGale on the undercard of the Amir Khan-Andreas Kotelnik showdown, which takes place at Manchester’s MEN Arena.
Healy, a former Ulster senior amateur champion at Light Heavyweight, is no stranger to taxing challenges, having faced both Andy Lee and Jamie Moore in the last two years. Ciaran isn’t taking the challenge of DeGale, dubbed ‘Mr. Marmite’, lightly, especially as the Londoner goes into the fight as the firm betting favourite. DeGale has confidently stated that, “I can’t wait to go in there and show them what I’m made of, and I’ll be upset if it lasts four rounds.”
The Olympian regards Healy as a stepping-stone, claiming that, “I’ve seen him (Healy) fight a couple of times, he’s decent, but not in my class. It’s my third professional fight and I’m looking to put on a show. I can’t wait.”
However, the gritty West Belfast native has been well prepared by John Breen and Eamonn Magee at the famous Breen Gym, he is not daunted by the assignment ahead. Healy shrugged off DeGale’s claims. “Saying is one thing and doing it is a different matter,” he told BoxingScene.com. “He’ll certainly be sickened after three rounds so he will, but I’ll be still there!”
The former Irish middleweight title holder feels that DeGale’s style could suit him. “He’s not a puncher, he’d be a good boxer if you let him, it’s just [a case of] pressurising him,” he claimed. Healy feels that he can draw on the experience gained fighting against taller opposition such as Andy Lee to overcome the challenge of DeGale.
“I know it’s only a four round fight anyway and I can just come out and give it my all because I have the four rounds in me,” he stated.
“I’ll just stay low and go to the body, the body, and then the head. Just keep coming and hopefully land a knockout,” articulated Healy, who feels that a knockout may be his only route to victory in front of a partisan British crowd.
Healy hopes that a good performance against DeGale can propel him into another shot at the Irish middleweight belt, a title he lost to Jamie Moore last year. John Duddy has hinted that he may return to Ireland to regroup following his loss to journeyman Billy Lyall; he would be an ideal foe for Healy, with the Irish title the prize.
However, Ciaran is fully focused on causing the upset of the night, “And then celebrating with a few pints of water”, added Healy, tongue firmly in cheek.