DUNGIVEN southpaw, Paul McCloskey has called on former WBA world champion, Amir Khan to attend to ‘unfinished business’ and grant him a rematch!
SIMON COLLINS reports
Khan lost his WBA crown for a second time in a crushing fourth round defeat to Danny Garcia in Las Vegas last weekend which raised questions over whether the Bolton man can continue to operate at world level in the light-welterweight division.
And former world title contender, McCloskey - who himself is shaking the dust off a demoralising stoppage against DeMarcus Corely - isn’t wasting any time in calling out Khan to engage in talks about a possible rematch.
The former European and British light-welterweight champion is still hurting from the controversial defeat to Khan in Manchester’s MEN Arena in April 2011 when referee Luis Pabon stopped what had been an intriguing bout due to an accidental clash of heads and he feels he’s entitled to another shot at the English man.
With Khan mulling over his options in the wake of his damaging defeat to Garcia, the ‘Dudey’ camp feel they can take advantage of the opportunity and avenge what was McCloskey’s (23-2-0) first defeat of his professional career.
‘Dudey’s’ promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport suggested the Co. Derry pugilist must now concentrate rebuilding his profile at domestic and European level in the aftermath of his loss to Corley, but his manager, Francie McNicholl claims his man is refusing to take a backward step.
Indeed, Mr. McNicholl insists McCloskey will continue to seek out possible opponents inside the world’s top 20 rankings.
And despite reports to the contrary, McNicholl also revealed his fighter wasn’t signed up to feature on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s ‘Judgement Day’ clash with Kiko Martinez scheduled for the Odyssey Arena on September 22nd next.
McCloskey was supposed to be present at yesterday morning’s press conference at the Europa Hotel, Belfast alongside Hearn, Barry McGuigan and Frampton however ‘Dudey’ was in Harley Street Hospital, London where he is receiving treatment to rectify his troublesome nose bleeds.
“The situation is that we haven’t agreed anything as yet,” said McNicholl yesterday. “We have a couple of options that we’re looking at present but what Eddie (Hearn) is proposing for us at the minute we’re not too happy with.
“There’s been nothing agreed with regards to Paul but we hope to have that resolved in the next couple of weeks.
“If we can find a suitable opponent - someone we deem to be a suitable opponent - then Paul will take part in the September 22nd show.
“We would like to keep in with the guys that are ranked in the top 20. We still think that’s where Paul should be.
“Certain people think we should be going back to domestic or European level but Paul would like to remain in that top 20 bracket of world contenders.
“At this time we wouldn’t be happy with British or European level fighters but while we’re not ruling out anything, we just don’t feel we’re that far back yet.”
And Khan is the man very much at the top of the list.
“The big one would be Amir Khan obviously,” he added. “He’s back in England again and has apparently left Golden Boy and Freddie Roach.
“We’d like to finish off what we started. He doesn’t have an awful lot more options really. If he wants top stay at 140lbs, then what better opponent is there than Paul if he’s not going to tackle Kell Brook at 147?
At 140lb, who else is there other than Paul? We’re quite happy to pursue that fight and hopefully they will give us the opportunity.”
McCloskey’s defeat to American, Corely was a major set-back in the Dungiven man’s search of a second world title challenge but McNicholl believes his poor performance was a ‘one-off’.
“He had a particularly bad night but every boxer has a bad night at some point. He had a bad lead up to that fight in that we were preparing for Julio Diaz who was an orthodox fighter and then the whole thing changed three weeks before the fight.
“He only had two weeks of sparring left at that point and didn’t have time to get a southpaw sparring partner.
“That was one of the big drawbacks, I’m not saying it was the only thing but it was a major factor. I don’t think that will be repeated again.
“During that fight, and the Breidis Prescott fight, Paul had nose bleeds from fairly early on in the fights and it bled very heavily right through the fight.
“He’s since been to Harley Street Hospital in London and has had a procedure on the nose when they discovered there was an issue that could be dealt with and he had that procedure done about a month ago.
“So we’re confident that the issue with the nose is now cleared up and that will give him confidence.
“They’re giving us every encouragement that it’s been successful and, fingers crossed, that should alleviate that problem.”