2007-07-13 / Sports

Duddy Returns To Ireland In "Homecoming"Bout

By Elio Velez

John Duddy returns to Ireland on July 15 for his first professional boxing fight since leaving his hometown, Derry County, a few years ago to seek fame and fortune in the United States.

The 27-year-old has found success in his early professional career, winning his first 20 fights and making a name as one of the up-and-coming fighters in the sport. Now Duddy has decided to raise his boxing profile worldwide and start his quest for a world championship in the land he calls home.

Duddy will headline the fight card "The Homecoming", as he steps into the ring in a 10 round bout against Alessio Furlan (19-8-5, 8 KOs) on Saturday. The bout is available starting at 5 p.m. eastern time on In Demand pay-per-view for $19.95.

The fight will take place at the National Stadium in Dublin, Ireland and will be broadcast live. There will be a replay broadcast at 10 p.m.

Though Duddy has received accolades for his rough and tough style of boxing, the behind-the-scenes movements of the Irish Ropes Promotions' biggest fighter have attracted most of the attention.

The current IBA and WBC Continental Americas middleweight champion admitted he was a bit lackluster in a 10-round decision victory over Dupre Strickland on May 18 at the Beacon Theatre.

After the fight, trainer Harry Keitt told reporters that he thought Duddy was distracted by the talk about fighting for a possible championship in Europe this year. He added believed that Duddy's lack of sharp focus was due to the constant pressure of answering questions on what future plans were in store once he returned to his homeland.

Duddy and Keitt had been partners since the WBC champion started his professional boxing career in the United States in 2004.

Though it was a hard decision, Duddy felt the time was right to go in another direction and get a fresh start with another trainer.

His promoters hired a new trainer in Don Turner, who has been in the corner for 19 world champions in the past, from heavyweight boxers Larry Holmes to Evander Holyfield.

"Bringing in Don was hard but the right decision," Duddy said to the Belfast Telegraph.

Duddy chose to train in the Pocono Mountains and said Turner's advice helped him to prepare for his upcoming fight in Dublin.

"Don has said that there are a few things that need to be changed and having a man of his experience in my corner is fantastic," Duddy said.

"He can bring so much to the camp and offer me so much advice because he has been there and done it at the highest level."

Honesty is a trait that Duddy possesses; he is not hesitant to reveal about the shortcomings that he believes have stunted his growth. Working with Turner has paid off in some ways.

In the bout with Furlan, Duddy says he will put more pressure against his opponent by working on his throwing combinations.

Duddy will have to show his improvement in the ring in front of friends and family at the National Stadium in Dublin. For him to get a possible European title shot, Turner says that Duddy must retain the belief that he can one day become a world champion.

"John Duddy has what it takes to go all the way to the top," Turner said.

"He's just as good as anybody in the middleweight division. He's responded very well to what I'm teaching him to do and he should be fighting for the world title soon."

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