2006-03-10 / Sports

Duddy Marches For WBC Title Shot At Madison Square Garden

By Elio Velez

The cheers that St. Patrick's Day Deputy Grand Marshall John Duddy received on Saturday are just the first applause he will receive this month.

The middleweight boxer from Derry County, Ireland will receive the cheers from an expected sellout crowd of 5,000 people at Madison Square Garden on Thursday. Duddy will headline the Irish Express boxing card in a pre-St. Patrick's Day matchup against Shelby Pudwill.

The interest garnered for the Duddy, who is currently 15-0 with 13 KO's, has risen in the past few months throughout the boxing world. The WBC Continental Americals Middleweight Championship will be on the line when Duddy faces a battletested Pudwill, who is currently 21-2-1 with 9 KO's. The 26 year old Duddy has fought at the World's Most Famous Arena last June when he defeated Patrick Thompson in a 10 round decision. This time, he will headline the most important fight of his career.

The undercard will also feature a heavy Irish flavor as Ireland's middleweight champion Matthew Macklin (16-1, 12 KO's) looks to impress in his third fight in America. Duddy's stablemate at the Irish Ropes Boxing Club, James Moore will be looking for his fourth straight win against Jose Felix (9-2-2, 3 KO's). Maureen Shea (4-0) squares off against Ebony Clement Bey (2-0).

Irish Ropes Down To Two

Ten fighters came out of the Irish Ropes Boxing Club in late January to fight in the Daily News Golden Gloves. Now that number is down to two. Luis Torres continued his impressive run in the quarterfinals last Tuesday at Monsignor Farrell High School when he won in a three round decision over Joseph Calvello from Westbury PAL.

When Calvello saw his opponent in the ring, it looked as if the Westbury PAL challenger did not take Torres seriously due to his size. Torres made sure that Calvello would be sorely mistaken for taking that lax attitude.

Torres shook off Calvello's quick flurry of punches and went to work to on the body with a series of punches that was effective. A ball of energy, Torres was assertive in outslugging and outboxing his way throughout the fight as the judges awarded him a 4-1 decision. He will fight again on March 16 at Van Dyke Community Center.

Gary Styles wasn't as lucky as Dave Thompson of the Brotherhood Boxing Club did enough to garner a three round decision win in the 201 pound novice class. The tall and awkward southpaw confused Styles with his pardon the pun style of fighting. Being able to bounce away from Styles' looping punches, Thompson landed his left hooks to win points in the first and second round.

Styles, who was battling a virus a couple of days before the fight, made one last attack in the third round which almost won him the contest. A big right hand connected square to the face of Thompson and for the last minute of the round, Styles was on the attack. Though Thompson was sent to the ropes with a flurry of punches and was about to go down, the bell rang and Styles ran out of time to pull out the victory.

Lightweight Robert B.J. Rucker, the other lone Irish Ropes representative, will fight at press time at the New Harlem PAL.

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