PAUL McCLOSKEY’S manager, Francie McNicholl has suggested the next step for the slick southpaw is to break into the clique of Box Office fighters in America should he fail in his attempts to secure a rematch with WBA champion, Amir Khan.
SIMON COLLINS reports
The Co. Derry business man was furious having witnessed his son-in-law’s dreams of capturing the WBA title swept away by referee, Luis Pabon in the sixth round of last Saturday’s light-welterweight title showdown with the English man due to a minor gash above his left eye.
And as McCloskey prepares for a family holiday to New York and then Las Vegas tomorrow (Friday), that may be where his future in the sport could lie according to McNicholl.
“We have to go through this controversy about this particular fight and lets see if we can get the rematch, we’re not finished by any means,” said a defiant McNicholl.
“There’s plenty of other angles out there for us,” he continued. “After this fight, the world has seen it and I’m sure people will be as disappointed as we are in the result and the outcome of it and there will be plenty of other fights out there for Paul.
“If needs be, yes we don’t have a problem with travelling to America for a fight. Obviously the one we do want is the rematch with Khan and on these shores if possible but we’ll just have to wait and see if that happens.”
McCloskey earned worldwide exposure after his fight with Khan, and despite losing his 22 fight unbeaten record and his European belt by default, he could capitalise on his new-found notoriety if he can secure a Box Office clash with one of the American based, light-welterweight heavy-hitters.
One such fight and a possibility which is currently being explored by McCloskey’s promoter, Matchroom Sport is against IBF light-welterweight champion Zab Judah, who is now looking to make a voluntary defence having just won the title last month.
Matchroom Sport Boxing Director Eddie Hearn insists McCloskey’s next fight will be for a world title whether they manage to secure a rematch with Khan or opt for an alternative route to light-welterweight stardom.
“Paul’s stature in world boxing has grown dramatically after Saturday night,” said Hearn. “I think the Judah fight is a possibility for Paul if Khan will not step up to the plate but we are hoping the WBA take some action.
“One thing is sure, our plan is that Paul McCloskey’s next fight will be for a world title.”
While McNicholl is not optimistic about Dudey’s chance of a rematch with the WBA champion, the Dungiven man challenged Khan to put his money where his mouth is and give McCloskey another shot.
“If there was any decency in him, as a sports man and as a professional he should actually give Paul a rematch. He said he would have finished it in another two rounds, well lets do it again and see if he can do that.
“We have to remember that this was a head-butt which ended the fight. You’ve never seen that before, you’ve never seen a doctor jump into the ring like that, he usually comes up to the ropes brings the boxer over has a look, lets his own corner have a look. He didn’t do any of those things, he jumps into the ring straight away and stops it, it’s just bizarre, it’s unreal.
“Oscar De La Hoya did say he deserves a rematch but he didn’t say he would give us one. Freddie Roach said he thinks he deserves a rematch but didn’t say he would give us one so that’s where we are basically.
“Judging by their reaction it doesn’t look good, but as Barry Hearn said, if there was any ounce of decency in them they would do that if they wanted to do the right thing.
“The atmosphere on the night was fantastic, the amount of people that came over was absolutely unbelievable and the support that was there was brilliant and I feel sorry for those who have spent all their money to come to see a fight which they didn’t get the value for.”
As McCloskey goes in search of another path to a world title, he must get in line if he has any desire to regain his European strap.
According to the EBU’s Rule 13, the champion must be stripped of the title; “If he is beaten in a contest within the limits of the division.”
Giuseppe Lauri, who McCloskey stopped at the King’s Hall last year, and Russian, Denis Shafikov occupy the two vacant challenger spots in the EBU’s latest rankings and will meet on either May 20th or 21st next in Varese, Italy. McCloskey will be ranked as No.1 challenger when the title’s destiny is decided, however, he will have his eyes on the bigger prize across the Atlantic over the coming months.