Light heavyweight Seanie Monaghan (21-0, 14 KOs) will defend his WBC Continental Americas light heavyweight title against Elvir Muriqi (40-6, 24 KOs) this Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on the undercard of the WBO light welterweight title fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Chris Algieri.
The Irish Voice caught up with Monaghan on Monday to see how his preparations have gone.
“This is the best training camp I have ever had. In my last few camps I’ve had to work through a few little injuries, one in my hand and another in my rib, but everything this time around has gone perfect," said Monaghan. "I feel stronger, sharper and better."
Elvir Muriqi is a Kosovo-born, New York-based veteran who has been a professional since 1998. In 2007, he fought Antonio Tarver for the vacant IBO light heavyweight title and lost a majority decision. The other major fight of his career came in 2009, when he lost an IBF title eliminator to Clinton Woods.
The 35-year-old was last in action on January 31 when he lost a unanimous decision to Australian Blake Caparello in West Orange, New Jersey. Before that, he was on a six-fight winning streak.
"On paper he has the best record (of any of his previous opponents), and he went 12 rounds for a world title, but we will see what he has left this weekend,” added Monaghan, who’s from Long Beach, Long Island.
Monaghan, who was last in action on April 12 when he beat Joe McCreedy by fifth round TKO on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, is trained by Joe Higgins, and the 32-year-old got plenty of contact work to ready himself for this assignment.
"We had great sparring for this fight. I sparred with Ievgen Khygrov who is a (former) world amateur champion from the Ukraine and also Ivan Golub. I must have sparred 150 rounds for this fight,” he said.
While Monaghan’s amateur career was not extensive, he went on to say the technical side of his game has improved greatly as he has gained more experience, and things that he once had to consciously implement are now coming naturally.
Some potential huge fights await if Monaghan, who is promoted by Top Rank, can win this weekend. He has been made aware of interest from former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and current WBA titleholder Juergen Braehmer about possible matchups.
However, he will have to pass the Muriqi test with flying colors if such assignments can be made. The fight is scheduled for 10 rounds.
Also fighting on the undercard is super-bantamweight Heather Hardy (9-0, 2 KOs), who will take part in the first female professional boxing fight at the Barclays Center. Facing her in the opposite corner will be Jackie Trivilino (9-7-3, 1 KO) in a contest scheduled for eight two-minute rounds.
Hardy delivered the most impressive performance of her career in her last outing, showing a much-improved defense and excellent movement when she defeated Nydia Feliciano back in March.
Tickets are available to purchase online at www.barclayscenter.com and www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.