Irish WBA super bantamweight world champion Bernard Dunne wants to dedicate the first defense of his WBA belt to the late Darren Sutherland at the O2 Arena on Saturday night -- with a victory over Thailand’s Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym a fitting tribute.
Dunne knows that everyone attending the fight will think of Sutherland, buried in Navan on Monday, when Irish boxing gets back to business this weekend.
Even his thoughts will turn to Sutherland as he prepares for a tough challenge against the mandatory challenger from the Far-East.
“The news of Darren’s death last week was shocking, absolutely shocking,” Dunne said. “My stomach was doing knots, it was churning.
“I wouldn’t have been personal friends with Darren, I’d have known him only through boxing, but to see someone that talented in life never mind sport die so young was just tragic and shocking.
“It was all ahead of him, inside and outside the ring. That’s what made it so hard to believe when I caught up with a couple of missed calls at around 9 p.m. on Monday night and the story started to unfold.
“To be honest he had every opportunity to win everything in professional boxing. He really did. He was good enough to rule the world. That’s for sure.
“Darren has to be in everybody’s thoughts at the O2, I know he will be in mine. It’s such a sad story but we have to look after the family now.”
Cavan’s Andy Murray is out of the big Dublin show after breaking a collarbone in training for his European Union lightweight title defense against Italian Pasquale Di Silvio.
“I’m gutted as it would have been a huge opportunity for me,” said the unbeaten 27-year-old. “Training had been going really well and as luck would have it the break happened in my last sparring session for the fight.
“I had hurt it a few days earlier but you always have aches and pains in training and you shrug them off. It’s quite painful at the moment but the doctors said that if it heals right I should be ready to start training again in six weeks so hopefully I won’t be out too long.”
KATIE Taylor ruled the continent again when her 38th straight win saw her retain her European lightweight title with an 11-0 win over Meryem Aslan Zeybek of Turkey in Sunday’s final in the Ukraine.
The 23-year-old from Bray didn’t concede a single point on her way to another major championship win, and has now won 63 of her last 64 international bouts.
London Olympics hopeful Taylor will now look to next year’s world championships after her latest win.
“There was a great buzz out here all week,” said Taylor. “Women’s boxing has been on a high for the last few months since the Olympic announcement and the standard was very high at these championships.
“I’ll take a few weeks off now. The next big one is the World Championships in Barbados next year and my aim is to defend my title. To win three-in-a-row would be very special.”
Like everyone connected with Irish boxing, Taylor also revealed her sadness at the death of Olympian Darren Sutherland last week.
“When I was starting out with the Irish team, Darren was always there with little pieces of encouragement and advice. He was a fantastic boxer and a great Irish sportsman and he will be sadly missed,” she said.
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