It’s all about Paul McCloskey this weekend as Dungiven celebrates Dudey Fest in the run up to the World Title clash between hometown boxing champion Paul McCLoskey and Amir Khan.
Sports clubs in the area have been involved in planing events for Sunday’s town centre pararde - led by Derry boxing legend Charlie Nash - and outdoor concert, which boasts an impressive line-up of local talent. Rumour has it McCloskey may even make a surprise appearance in the evening.
The ‘Journal’ is also helping fans commemorate the hotly anticipated fight by producing a special poster (pictured right), which is free for readers in Friday’s Journal.
McCloskey’s agent and father-in-law, Francie McNicholl revealed he has sold around 3,000 tickets, in addition to those snapped up through Ticketmaster.
“Everything is going really well and we’re all looking forward to Dudey Fest this weekend. Paul is in first class condition, the best he has ever been in,” Mr. McNicholl told the ‘Journal’ yesterday.
For the past two weeks, the Dungiven southpaw has been sparring with a boxer from Venezuala. Prior to that he was sweating it out with a boxer from Georgia in Russia and next week he’ll step into the ring with a sparring partner from England.
McCloskey has been living in Belfast since the start of his intense training thanks to the McGinnis Group which generously provided an apartment.
“It saves Paul the journey every day to Belfast and keeps him away from everything,” said Mr. McNicholl, who revealed the young dad-of-two trains for at least eight to nine hours a day, starting at 7am. He has a chef on hand to prepare meals on the advice of a nutritionalist.
“Paul is 100 per cent and very confident and can’t wait to get on with it. His strength and conditioning is going extremely well. He really is in the best condition he has ever been in.”
Sean McGlinchey from the organising committee for Sunday’s celebrations said fans are in for a treat.
With local musicians including Maranna McCloskey, Eoghan Quigg and Joe Mooore, the concert will also boast All-Ireland Talent Show star, Brian Sheerin, a cousin of McCloskey’s wife Emma.
The festivities start at 5.30pm with a parade at the GAA club on the Garvagh Road, which will make its way around the town finishing at the Castle where the outdoor concert will be held.
The winners of the best decorated business and the schools’ art competition will also be announced.
“We really want to encourage everyone to decorate their cars with flags now, just to show how much we all support Paul,” added Mr. McGlinchey, who also thanked Dungiven parish Priest Fr. Aidan Mullan for his support in encourgaing people to get involved in the celebrations.