The 8-3 (5 KOs) light welterweight is scheduled to go six rounds with the debuting Richard Scifo on the undercard of Bernard Dunne’s IBC super bantamweight title bid at the National Stadium next Friday.
Fagan and Scifo, erstwhile sparring mates at the Badlands Gym in Oklahoma City, have been feuding since their long proposed match was put off for the second time last month.
“I was supposed to fight him in the U.S. a year ago and that fell through,” Fagan explained. “It was rescheduled to this September in Oklahoma but when I was asked to fight in Dublin, I jumped at the chance and pulled out so that I could train harder.”
This apparently peeved Scifo who labeled Fagan a coward and started calling out the 31-year-old late bloomer.
“We used to be good friends but lately, I think he’s jealous of me because I’m the Oklahoma state champion,” surmised Fagan.
Further fueling the bad blood between the two are the differing accounts of two sparring sessions they had.
Fagan feels he got the upper hand, while Scifo believes he was the better man.
“The fact [that] we’ve sparred with each other and he thinks he’s got the better of me is a ridiculous notion to me,” said Fagan. “He’s in with the big boys now and will be knocked out. There’s no way he’s going to come to my home town and beat me.”
The Irishman, however, acknowledged Scifo’s superior amateur background.
“I know the guy and he was a good enough amateur around these parts and I’m probably not the most skilled fighter in the world, but I’m very determined and very fit. I work very hard in the gym,” said Fagan, whose own amateur career comprised just three bouts over four years.
A graduate of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and physical education teacher, Fagan has an added incentive for this fight — his first in Dublin as a pro.
“It’s huge for me,” he said. “Most of my friends have never seen me fight — on the pitch maybe,” he said, laughing.
He’s only had 16 fights, but manager Brian Peters believes that his undefeated featherweight Bernard Dunne is ready for a world title shot — obscure as the trinket may be.
Hence the 25-year-old’s scrap with Sean Hughes (10-2-1, 1KO) for the IBC super bantamweight belt at the National Stadium.
“The IBC might not be considered one of the major world titles but legends like Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and James Toney have fought for IBC titles in the past,” Peters said at the press conference announcing the fight.
In what’s being sold as the biggest night of fisticuffs in Dublin since the heydays of Steve Collins, middleweight Jim Rock (25-4, 7 KOs) also goes for IBC glory when he takes on one of his conquerors, 9-1-1 (3 KOs) Welshman Alan Jones.
In addition, super middleweight Brian Magee (23-2, 16 KOs), a split points loser to Vitali Tsypko in their scrap fight for the vacant European crown last July, returns against Scottish champion Tommy Cannon (7-4-2, 1 KO).
Light middleweight James Moore is off Friday night’s card in upstate Monticello after his Mexican opponent could not get time off from work in Tijuana, according to Irish Ropes chief Eddie McLoughlin.
Moore (3-0, 1 KO) moves on to the Nov. 4 card at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan where John Duddy will headline.
The undefeated Duddy (12-0, 11 KOs) could be fighting for the vacant New York State title that night, according to McLoughlin.
“There’s an 80 percent chance he’ll be fighting for the title. We’re looking at a short list of 10 [opponents],” he said.
And in a telling sign of his drawing power, Duddy will enjoy top billing on a show that will feature former world heavyweight title contender and sometime actor [“Bad Boys II” “The Transporter II”] Shannon Briggs on the undercard.
Aodh Carlyle and Oisin Kelly were Ireland’s only winners in a three-nation amateur tournament in Cleveland, Ohio, last Thursday. The event included fighters from the United States and Italy.
Carlyle, from Golden Cobra boxing club, beat American Willie Nelston 22-18 at 140 pounds, while Kelly, who fights for Portlaoise in Ireland, blew out Italian Salvatore Carozza 22-4 at 152 pounds.
Four other Irish boxers came up short. In the 112 pound division, Jamie Conlon of St. John Bosco was stopped in the first round by Rau’Shee Warren of the United States. Benny Harkin (Twintowns) also failed to go the distance in a two round RSC loss to 125-pound US representative Prenice Brewer.
At 118 pounds, David Oliver Joyce (St. Michaels Athy) lost 78-69 to Italian Parrinello Vittorio, as did the other Portlaoise man in the squad, 132-pounder Eamon Touhey, who dropped a 65-63 decision to Italy’s Pasquale Bennardino.
The Irish team was coached by Maurice Walsh and Gerry Storey.