By Jay Mwamba
Lightweight boxing prospect Martin O’Malley returns to Yonkers Raceway next Wednesday, Jan. 17, to continue his quest for a championship belt in the new year with a scheduled eight-round contest against Las Vegas pug Awel Abdulai.
Former world light-heavyweight champion Lou Del Valle will appear in the co-feature.
O’Malley’s non-title bout will be televised by the European sports network Eurosports, which is seen in more than 220 million homes in 54 countries, giving the Seattle-born boxing sensation valuable exposure across the Atlantic.
His handlers believe this is good for their charge as it could lead to fights with some of Europe’s star lightweights or lucrative bouts against top-ranked British lightweights on Sky Sports.
"People want to see Martin O’Malley fight. He fights intelligent, and he can hurt you from the outside or inside. He’s special," said Martin Somers of Independent Promotions, who are co-promoting the Yonkers card with Star Boxing.
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With a 15-0 ledger and riding a nine-fight KO streak, O’ Malley is currently ranked by the Statesside USBA, NABF and NABA. The Boxing Union of Ireland rates him No. 1.
The 25-year-old boxer-puncher is scheduled to challenge for one of the North American title belts within the next few months.
"I feel like all the hard work I’ve been doing is about to pay off," O’Malley said. "Opportunities are there for me, I feel I’m a few fights away from a championship. I’m going to stay busy and be prepared."
He hopes that he can get a multi-fight deal with a venue like Madison Square Garden, noting that with the large Irish population in New York, a deal of this sort would be beneficial for all the parties involved.
In his last fight, in Queens four months ago, O’Malley scored a stunning fourth-round KO over Stephen Owusu. In Abdulai, he faces a durable opponent who has been stopped only twice, by the world-rated Julio Diaz and Norberto Sandoval.
Abdulai recently lost a decision to Dublin-born British champion Michael Gomez. Before that, he’d been awarded a controversial draw with highly rated American lightweight contender Jermaine Fields.
Anticipating another wipeout by his rising star, Somers noted: "O’Malley has fought very impressively. He is a power puncher with unlimited potential. He’s got talent and desire. He’s the whole package."
Somers predicted that O’Malley would be prize-fighting’s next big name.
"Madison Square Garden recently did a deal with six Olympic boxers who haven’t fought professional yet. Mark my words, the star of boxing will be Irish-American Martin O’Malley.," he said.
"We believe in Martin’s ability. You have to be willing to step to the plate and deliver."