NOEL Murphy is ready to rumble for the first time in the pro ranks in Cork in a summer blockbuster.
Cork promoter Martin Horgan confirmed that the Macroom welterweight is pencilled in for July 20 at the Neptune Stadium. Aand an Irish belt could be up for grabs in the main event of the evening.
Horgan and Murphy’s manager Kevin Crowley are looking at opponents for the 24-year-old in the first big fight night at the Neptune since Gary 'Spike' O’Sullivan stopped Peter Dunn at the venue on his paid debut in 2008.
James Power, who is trained by Peter Taylor, father of Olympic gold medallist and World pro champion Katie Taylor, could fight on the undercard.
Power, unbeaten in four outings so far, can now legally fight in Ireland as he turned 18, the minimum age requirement according to Boxing Union of Ireland rules, last month.
Taylor, who steered his daughter to Ireland’s only Olympic gold in any sport this century, described Power as an exciting and talented prospect.
Horgan pointed out that there’s a selection of Cork boxers switching codes and expects that the promotion will also attract a lot of Ireland’s top fighters.
“We are looking at two or three opponents (for Murphy). We are going to start off with an Irish title because that’s what he wants," he said.
Murphy, who boxes out of the New York, has won 13, lost one and drawn one of his 15 outings so far. The Bronx-based lefty recorded a landslide points win over Dubliner John Joyce at the House of Blues in Boston on St Patrick’s Eve last.
“Let the fun begin,” said the BUI Celtic champion via social media in relation to the July 20 promotion.
Murphy, who is currently training in Cork under chief seconds Tom Power, is eagerly looking forward to “giving it a lash” in his own backyard, according to Kevin Crowley.
The Macroom lefty brought hundreds of fight fans to the National Stadium for his two previous fights at the home of Irish boxing and Crowley anticipates an electric atmosphere at the Neptune.
“We’re hoping for an Irish title, he'd like to win an Irish title. It will help us in the rankings and we might get a European (title shot) after that, he said.
“It’s exciting as there hasn't been professional boxing in Cork for years. Boxing is still very popular in Cork. People talk about it, watch it, follow it, and I think Noel will be a good start.
“He’ll bring a good crowd from Macroom as well as he did a few years ago at the Stadium. He got great support that night and hopefully, we can get that at the Neptune and get the ball rolling.
“It might not be his last one there, all going well. It’s good to fight in his home city. He always wanted to fight in Cork in the main event. It's great to get him back and now is a good time.”