Paul McCloskey is set to secure a second shot at a world title in September as South African, Chris Van Heerden has agreed in principle to place his IBO welterweight belt on the line in Belfast.
The Dungiven southpaw, who controversially suffered a TKO in a WBA world light-welterweight showdown with Amir Khan in April 2011, is understood to be interested in taking on the highly respected South African who is willing to travel to Belfast for the fight.
Talks between Van Heerden’s camp and Matchroom Sport, who represent ‘Dudey’, are believed to be well underway and an initial agreement for the two southpaws to meet at the Odyssey Arena has been reached.
It will be Van Heerden’s, who defeated Ricky Hatton’s brother Matthew in Johannesburg last March, third defence of his welterweight crown and just his second appearance in Europe.
“Paul was interested in the fight with Chris straight away and it is a great opportunity for him,” McCloskey’s manager, Francie McNicholl told World Boxing News.
“We want this fight for Paul and will be looking for a venue for it to take place in Belfast this September.”
McCloskey, who defeated Manuel Perez in his last outing for the vacant WBA Inter-Continental light-welterweight title last September, is currently training for a return to the ring in Hull on July 13th.
And should he come through that bout unscathed, Van Heerden(19-1-1) will be waiting in the wings and is anxious to show boxing fans in Ireland what he’s made of.
“I’m honoured to be potentially on a show this big in Ireland,” Van Heerden said. “Up to 10,000 people will bring out the best in me and I am hungry to make a successful third defence.
“Paul is respected within boxing, but I will be even more respected after whipping him,” added the South African.