Dublin City and the O2 Arena will certainly be buzzing on Saturday March 21st, when local boy and challenger Bernard Dunne takes on the World champion, Ricardo “El Maestrito” Cordoba for the WBA Super Bantamweight Title. This is the first World Championship fight to be held in Ireland since 1996. Read on for more about this much anticipated night of excitement for Irish boxing…
Dublin born boxer Bernard Dunne will be challenging for the prize of WBA Super Bantamweight Champion of the world when he takes on the World Champion Cordoba in this eagerly awaited battle in the ring. The event is sponsored by Irish Crisp Manufacturers Hunky Dorys and the fight has been organised by Boxing Promoter Brian Peters, who has angled for some time a return to Dublin of big night boxing.
The last world title fight to be held in Ireland was 13 years ago, when in August 1996 Naseem Hamed defeated Manuel Medina at the old Point Theatre. The upcoming event at the brand new O2 arena will see Dunne challenge for the WBA belt, which was last held by an Irishman, Barry McGuigan, who reigned supreme from 1985-86.
Interestingly, the last time an Irish boxer fought a Panama boxer in a World Title bout was in 1985, when Barry McGuigan defeated Eusebio Pedroza to win the WBA world featherweight Championship at the Loftus Road Stadium in London. Hopefully there is a good omen there for Dunne! The last Irish fighter to contest a World Title fight on home soil was Wayne McCullough, who retained his WBC Bantamweight title in March 1996 at the old Point Depot venue.
Dunne has worked hard to have a crack at the world title, and as a young man he travelled to the USA and learnt the skills of the boxer from Freddie Roach. A hard working and no frills type fighter, he has bounced back in style after the loss of his European titles in a first round hammering to Spanish boxer, Kiko Martinez in August of 2007. This was the very first loss in Bernard’s professional career, and it was interesting to see how well he reacted to this shock defeat.
Dunne licked his wounds, took a short break and knuckled down to have another crack at the World Title. 2008 saw his return to the ring and gain some confidence boosting wins over South American fighters acquired him the number 11 ranking with the WBA, and thus gaining him the opportunity to have a crack at the World Title that Cordoba currently holds.
A fight on home soil, in front of a passionate home crowd, is exactly what Dunne needs in his quest to win the World Championship. The 29-year-old Dunne has been having intensive training for the fight since before Christmas, without a doubt this is the most important fight of his entire career and all the signs are that he has prepared well for the fight. Dunne will be regarded as the underdog in this battle, not that it will affect his supreme confidence in his ability. In his total professional career, Dunne has been defeated only once, and has won 14 of his 27 wins by straight knock out.
The Current Champion
Cordoba is know as is “Il Maestrito” which means Little Teacher. He got this nickname at age 10, when he was a boxing prodigy and was already handing out advice to other fighters! Since turning professional in 2000, Ricardo Cordoba has a built up an impressive record of 34 wins (24 by knockout), 2 draws and just 1 defeat (this came in controversial circumstances in Thailand).
Cordoba won the WBA title in September 2008, and this is his first defence of it. The Panamanian is brimming with confidence, as can be seen in his decision to take on a title challenger in his own backyard! Cordoba and his backroom team have done all their homework on Bernard Dunne, and all the evidence points towards a battle that shall go all the way to the twelfth round on the night of March 21st!
Tickets for the Hunky Dorys World Title Fight Night are priced from €50 and you can book tickets from Ticketmaster.
The fight will be covered live by RTE2 on the Saturday evening with commentary by legendary Jimmy Magee!
The O2 Venue, Dublin
Formerly known as the Point, the venue has been extensively redeveloped and renamed as the O2 and is located at Northwall Quay, Dublin 1.
If walking to the venue, give half an hour if starting from O’Connell Bridge. Going from O’Connell Street, head on through Northside Quays and you will be passing the IFSC Centre. The Number 53 bus will also get you to the venue.
Find out more about the O2 Arena.
So , if you are heading to the big boxing night in the O2, you will need accommodation for the night. Check out our Dublin Hotels page.
Are you heading to the big night fight on March 21st next? Have you been to an event in the new O2 Arena and do you have any information about the new venue? Let us know your thoughts – we appreciate your comments!