By Jay Mwamba
A Belfastman in search of a last shot at glory and a rising star who spent his formative years in County Wicklow will headline the biggest local Irish boxing show in recent years this Friday at Yonkers Raceway.
John Lowey, the Belfast-based former International Boxing Organization super bantamweight champion, resumes his quest for another world title with a six-round contest against Florida Journeyman Marik McKay on the
Rockall Promotions card.
The main event pits lightweight sensation Martin O’Malley (13-0) against the battle-tested John Scalzi of Altoona, Pa., who has come up short against present and past world titlists Zab Judah and Hector Camacho.
Said O’Malley, who has won 12 of his 13 fights via the short route: "I don’t know anything about [Scalzi]. I’ll go in feel him out and see what he has to offer, then I’ll try to take him out as soon as possible."
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O’Malley’s last fight was in Antigua last April, when he scored an impressive third-round TKO over Mexican Pedro Garcia.
The 33-year-old Lowey, meanwhile, will use his fight against McKay as a tune-up for a possible fourth crack at the World Boxing Organization crown in September. Lowey (26-2, 18 KOs), is on a short list of opponents being lined up for a shot at WBO super bantamweight titlist Marco Antonio Barrera.
"I’m looking forward to that fight with Barrera," Lowey said in New York last weekend, after declaring himself fit and ready for Friday’s night clash with McKay.
"I don’t know anything about the guy, but whoever he is, he’s never fought anyone like me," Lowey said, echoing one of heavyweight titlist Lennox Lewis’s favorite lines.
This will be only Lowey’s second fight in three years. He outpointed Joe Lafontant in Philadelphia last October in his first start since a TKO loss to World Boxing Council super bantamweight champion Erik Morales in 1997.
Lowey’s other loss was to former world champion Kennedy McKinney.
In the co-feature at Yonkers, super middleweight Joe "The Irish Terror" Hughes, from Stony Point in Rockland County, will square off with Tyler Hughes (14-9, 4 KO) in an eight rounder.
Also on the card will be Galway native Colm Keane vs. Kurt Shaka (4 rounds); WBA 12th ranked welterweight Michael Covington vs. Augustine Silva (8 rounds); and super middleweight Carmine Tafuno vs. Erin Fitchett. Two former top local amateurs, Fari Kaba and Darlington Jiminez, will also make their respective debut on the card.
"This will be the beginning of a group of fight cards that Rockall Promotions will promote in the coming months," said Eddie McLoughlin. "We are excited to bring this level of boxing to the Yonkers area and on [Friday] fans will see an electrifying boxing card featuring the best in Irish boxing."
The show has been moved to Yonkers Raceway from the original venue, Gaelic Park, after the management of Gaelic Park had a change of heart.
"We are disappointed that we could not hold the card at Gaelic Park. This would have been the first professional outdoor fight card in New York City since Muhammad Ali beat Ken Norton in 1976 in Yankee Stadium. But the show
must go on and we are very grateful to Yonkers Raceway for stepping in this late," McLoughlin said.
The first bout starts at 7 p.m. For ticket information, call (718) 318-2727.