Middleweight John Duddy (26-1) was in upbeat form at a press conference at Gallagher's Steak House on West 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan, New York on Thursday, just over one week before he fights Michi Munoz at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden on October 10.
Duddy and Munoz (21-3) will fight in a contest scheduled for 10 rounds on the non-televised undercard of the Top Rank-promoted "Island Warriors: Latin Fury 12” that is headlined by Juan Manuel Lopez' WBO super bantamweight title defense against Rogers Mtagwa.
The fight will be the first for the "Derry Destroyer" since his only loss as a professional to Billy Lyell on April 24 at the Prudential Center in Newark. Since then, he has married his childhood sweetheart Grainne, bought a house in Derry and reunited with trainer Harry Keitt. Duddy came to New York for training camp straight from his honeymoon and sported a silver wedding band. Now that the nuptials are over, the 30-year-old has set his sights firmly on a ring of a different kind.
"I'm looking forward to fighting again," said Duddy, dressed in a black blazer and looking in good shape. The middleweight decided he wanted to stay around New York while preparing for fights, and when Miami-based Pat Burns could not make the commitment to spending long spells away from his family, the two parted on good terms and former trainer Harry Keitt was the man Duddy wanted to return to.
"Once I made the decision that I wanted to make New York my base Patrick [Burns] gave me his blessing,” he said. "Harry is the only man I ever wanted to work with and when it comes to New York it is great to get back into the old groove, and I am just looking forward to fighting again."
Duddy faces Munoz, who he describes as a "tough Mexican who won't stop coming forward," and knows he has to get back to winning ways to make up for the setback in April. What Duddy did confirm on Thursday is that from now on his future will be in the 160-pound middleweight division, and he will not be moving down a division to junior middleweight.
"I’ll be a middleweight from here on in, you know. I think in my last performance I was weighing 157 and I just didn't have that same snap about myself and it was a wee bit too much. I am looking forward to staying at 160 as I think it is my natural weight and I will be strong at that weight. I have had tremendous battles at that weight and I look forward to plenty more battles in the future."
As part of the Irish boxing fraternity Duddy expressed his condolences for the recent passing of Darren Sutherland.
"I didn’t know him personally, but as my father was saying he was part of the Irish boxing family. I think he was 17 and I was 20 the year I won my national title and he was fighting in the seniors as well. It was a tragic ending for a young fellow that on paper had so much to look forward to. My heart goes out to his family and relatives, and it was a terrible loss for Ireland and for the world of boxing."
When asked if he had any message for Irish fight fans Duddy told IrishCentral:
"Hopefully I can get a victory under my belt to get everyone cheering again. My heart goes out to Bernard Dunne for putting on a brave title defense back in Dublin and I saw the reception that he received from the Irish fans who were out in their numbers again, and hopefully I can give them something else to think about, and that Bernard bounces back again in a year or so. I hope to get the Irish eyes smiling again."