While Ireland takes a standing count from its latest battering of Arctic weather conditions, Kiko Martinez’s Spanish camp engaged in their own round of snowball throwing by delivering and icy salvo in the direction of Limericks Willie Casey.
The Limerick Banger’s decision to vacate his European strap, opting instead to challenge the WBA interim champion Guillermo Rigondeaux received stinging disapproval from the Kiko side.
Team Martinez accused the Casey Camp of “going back on their word by not fighting their man” and that “Casey was very lucky to have been given the opportunity to fight for a European title as he had nowhere near enough experience or done as much as others to deserve it”
Dolphil promotions stated that they “would not be returning any insults in Kiko’s direction and the fact is that their man earned his opportunities on his performances inside the ring and is well deserved of his status as European champion”.
Martinez the current mandatory challenger to Casey’s crown following his injury forced side step which paved the way for the inaugural all Ireland European title bout between the Munster hero and Tallaght’s Paulie Hyland, believes Casey is running scared from their planned tussle.
Any suggestion that Team Casey’s revised battle plan is based on the strategic avoidance of the Spaniard was revoked by “Big Bang” trainer Philip Sutcliffe.
“Willie Casey has never runaway from any fighter and his career to date is testament to that fact. Willie will rise to any challenge put in front of him and that is why his is taking this fight. He has this opportunity because he delivers every time and we believe he will rise to this task as well. It is regrettable that we are not fulfilling our obligation to Kiko, but he and his management should understand that fighting for a world title versus European honours are worlds apart and we are going to grasp this opportunity with both hands”.
Suggestions that Dolphil Promotions where taking the easy option by pitting their fighter against Rigondeaux who is recognised as one of the all time greats of amateur boxing were countered by the Cubans Irish promoter Gary Hyde. The Cork based boxing impresario highlighted that it was actually team “La Sensación” that balked at a Cuban fecha.
“I contacted Pat Magee in March 2010 about a fight between Rigondeaux and Martinez. Pat contacted Alberto Gonzalez (Martinez manager) and they said no way where they getting inside a ring with Rigondeaux. I even doubled the purse offer to €20,000 plus expenses for a six rounder and he said no way, that Rigondeaux is far too dangerous. It’s laughable what’s being said here, it sounds more to me like sour grapes.”
While the verbal scuffles may rumble on, its full steam ahead for this Irish-Cuban world title showdown at Dublin’s Citywest Arena on the 19 March, 2011. While an exciting prospect for Irish sport, it is a move Dolphil Promotion have not taken lightly.
“We understand our decision has impacted on prior agreements, but true boxing people will understand that this is a massive opportunity for Willie and one we cant let slip. We are very grateful to promoter Brian Peters for giving Willie the platform to fight for his European title. As far a Kiko goes, we would be happy to give him a shot at the World title if everything goes to plan at Citywest. We are not going to get involved in a slagging match, we are taking an opportunity that no fighter would turn down and we are going to focus on getting our fighter ready for this fight”, said trainer Philip Sutcliffe.