Duddy to step up to Eastman


Duddy to step up to Eastman

Press Release: Howard Eastman will be out to turn John Duddy’s Kings Hall dream into a nightmare when they clash at the legendary Belfast venue on Saturday, December 8, 2007. Eastman is set to provide the Derry middleweight with the sternest test yet of his 22 fight unbeaten career. Eastman, who goes by the sobriquet of the “Battersea Bomber” has a record of 42-5 with 35 KOs.  He has also enjoyed lengthy reigns as European, Commonwealth and British middleweight champion.

There was certainly no shame Eastman's previous two bids at world level, a majority decision defeat to WBA titlist William Joppy in 2001 and a clear points defeat to then undisputed middleweight kingpin Bernard Hopkins in 2005. [However, Eastman was upset by Wayne Elcock in his last fight].

Eastman will be entering the lions den on December 8th when he tackles Duddy in front of what’s likely to be an electric atmosphere at the Kings Hall. Duddy said, “It’s going to be amazing, it doesn’t get much better than fighting a guy with Eastman’s reputation at the Kings Hall. He’s had almost twice as many KO’s as I’ve had fights so that tells you everything about him. He has an amazing record and there’s no doubt he’s a very dangerous man.

Promoter Brian Peters feels it’s a fight that will bring Belfast fight fans back to the halcyon days of the mid 1980’s when Barry McGuigan packed out the same venue.

Peters said, “I suppose it’s only natural that with John fighting at the Kings Hall now people are going to compare him to the likes of Barry McGuigan and the greats who have fought there before. When McGuigan beat the world class Juan La Porte at the Kings Hall it proved he was ready for the world title and I think this will be the same kind of fight for John. If he can beat a guy like Eastman then I think he’s certainly ready for that big world title fight next year but getting past Eastman will be a big, big test for John.”

The undercard will feature undefeated Paul McCloskey and Stephen Haughian in their first ever scheduled 12 round bouts. Haughian will take a huge step up in class when he looks to relieve Italian Giammario Grassellini of his regional welterweight title. It looks to be a big ask for the Lurgan man – the Italian holds a European ranking and has only suffered a single split decision defeat in 19 professional bouts. In his last outing he shared a draw with former European champion Michel Trabant.

However despite Grassellini’s impressive credentials trainer John Breen believes both Haughian and McCloskey are ready to win their first professional titles. The Belfast man said, “Both boys have been waiting for chances like this and now that they have them they’ll grab them, I’ve no doubt about that.”

McCloskey’s opponent for a regional light welterweight title will be confirmed in the coming days.

At light welter, recently crowned Northern Ireland champion James Gorman from Belfast goes up against undefeated Cavan prospect Andrew Murray. Then in an all-Belfast battle Ciaran Healy will contest the vacant Irish light middleweight title with Leeds based Lagansider Lee Murtagh. 

Also on the card is undefeated Willie Thompson who will go in search of his fourth straight win in the paid ranks. Further bouts will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Tickets go on sale from Ticketmaster.ie and all usual outlets next week.