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"Ireland's" John Duddy: Striking Fame in America

HCB Press Release - 2/16/2006

In the blink of an eye, John Duddy has gone from "just a kid from Derry City" to fighting on the world's most famous boxing stage at Madison Square Garden. Along the way Duddy has met with U.S. presidential candidate and current senator John McCain, regarding immigration issues, and he has appeared alongside legendary Irish fighter Barry McGuigan at a forum called "Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of the Celtic Warrior". As if that is not enough, Duddy is approaching legendary status with his exponentially growing fan base. As he rings up victory after victory, Duddy inches closer to the historic status of the Irish and Irish-American fighters who were celebrated last year at New York's Irish Arts Center ( in that aforementioned forum. Oh and by the way, Duddy (18-0 15 KOs) is facing one of his toughest middleweight challenges yet in Anthony "the Bullet" Bonsante in the 12 round Main Event dubbed "Erin Go Brawl" on March 16 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Duddy, 27, is currently in his third week of training camp under the guidance of head trainer Harry Keitt. In his last fight, Duddy defeated former champion "Yory Boy" Campas in a hard-fought unanimous decision. While that was a great win, Duddy recognizes the significance of this next fight, and he has fans coming from around the world to watch him. On the eve of St. Patrick's Day, New York City will be rocking to Irish vibe, and The Theater at the Garden will be the epicenter of the excitement.

Along with rock stars and high level politicians, elite athletes are one of the few groups of people who ever experience stepping into an arena with thousands of people cheering them on. Duddy is one of the few lucky ones who knows that feeling well, and he graciously described it to

"It is a tremendous feeling. I think I am a little unexperienced to have the right words to describe it all at the moment. Definitely, it is bigger than I ever imagined. It just seems to be getting bigger and bigger and picking up more momentum" said Duddy who is promoted by Irish Ropes Promotions, "I am certainly looking forward to it this year more. There is even more coming from home, plane loads coming over, and even from the West Coast here in America…it makes me all the more eager to work hard and put forward a great performance."

Duddy recognizes the contribution of his loyal fan base to his career, and he acknowledges the fans have sparked his meteoric rise as a professional. He said the Irish and Irish-American fans have always been very supportive of their public figures, whether actors, singers or the like, and without the fans, his career may have taken a slower path.

"My career seems to be a little bit of an exception, considering I am not a major medal winner or a winner of any amateur competition" said Duddy who is training in Vero Beach, FL, "To be a kid from Derry City, Ireland and fighting at Madison Square Garden in New York that in itself speaks for itself. I just attribute it to being Irish and proud of where I come from and a lot of people who have come here are proud of where I come from and support me and wish me the best."

Duddy knows that his career is moving at a very fast pace, but he is grounded in the fact that he must improve as a boxer. Although Duddy accumulated a bunch of knockouts so far, he knows the KO will not always happen in the future. As he continues to step up to higher competition, becoming a better boxer will be the key to his success.

Duddy said, "I am going to have to start boxing a lot more this time around. I think I am a better boxer than a fighter, and I am hopefully going to use this fight to show that."

Duddy has been watching a lot of tape on Bonsante, and since Bonsante was on The Contender 1, there is plenty of footage to go around. The footage should help expose some of Bonsante's weaknesses, but Duddy said he is mostly working on improving himself.

"I am just going to be working hard to put forward me best performance. Anthony Bonsante will be doing the same. The man is a credit to himself. You know, he's got two young kids he is a single parent for a long time" said Duddy, "He's worked the night shifts as well and a job trying to hold a professional career together. I have the utmost respect for him and on March 16 he will be bringing his A-game and he is fighting for himself and his family to make it a lot easier for them in the future…Hopefully the best will come out in the end."

Duddy's description of his opponent almost sounds too good to be true. He is eloquent and poetic regarding his opponent, and he hearkens back to a day when sports figures were gentlemen and the sport the attraction. In an era where athletes cannot wait to pound their chest or point a finger into their opponent's face, Duddy does the opposite. His praise for Bonsante is sincere, but his fans can rest assured that his goal is to defeat Bonsante as convincingly as possible. Bonsante is riding a three fight-winning streak, but he is 36 years old. Duddy knows that Bonsante will be fighting with a sense of urgency, as time is running out for him. However, just a few months ago"Yory Boy" Campas was in the same situation as Bonsante, so Duddy is confident he knows what to expect.

Duddy is living proof that nice guys can finish first. Duddy is also living proof that in order to thrive in professional boxing, one must sell tickets and pay per view subscriptions.

Duddy said, "Tune in to your local cable subscriber. The fight is going to be on pay per view on demand for $24.95, and so if you cannot make it to the arena get your friends and get your beers on and get ready for a great night of boxing. I am looking forward to kicking off the St. Patrick's Day celebrations with a bang."

Duddy's sole focus is on March 16, and he is not sure if he will be partaking in the festivities on March 17. One thing is certain the Duddy vs. Bonsante fight will be a major attraction in what promises to be a stellar weekend in New York City.

Duddy will enter the ring at 5'11", and he is ranked number 7 by the WBO and number 9 by the WBA. Bonsante hails from Crosby-Ironton, Minnesota, and he is listed at 5'9". Bonsante's record is 29-8-3 (17 KO's). Duddy's IBA World and WBC Continental Americas title belts will be on the line. The fight will take place in the middleweight division. thanks Bob Trieger for setting up this interview.

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