A potential IBO welterweight title fight between Paul McCloskey and belt holder Chris Van Heerden has been thrown into considerable doubt after Carl Frampton’s decision to switch to BoxNation from Matchroom Sport.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has revealed that future trips to Belfast are now unlikely to happen after lead Irish fighter Frampton signed a deal elsewhere – leaving McCloskey unable to stage an intended IBO clash with South African Van Heerden in September with Matchroom.
The two fighters had agreed to the fight, which was due to take place in front of 10,000 fans at the Odyssey Arena, although McCloskey has now revealed his frustration as the potential clash on home soil looks dead in the water.
“I have been training hard and have been ready to fight since March this year. I had a few minor issues that prevented me fighting in February and Matchroom told me to get ready for fighting in Belfast in May,” McCloskey explained to World Boxing News.
“My date then became June or July, but last week, after the McGuigan/Frampton situation, Eddie informed my team that Sky will not be coming back to Ireland for now and the only fight he could offer me in the short term was a ten rounder in Hull against Curtis Woodhouse. No disrespect to Curtis but this fight would not help my career in any way and I wanted to take up the Van Heerden offer in Belfast.
“I have now informed Matchroom that I will not be taking the fight in Hull and I may be sidelined for now, but that won’t stop me achieving my goals.”
There could still be a slim chance that the contest between the 33 year-old and Van Heerden, 25, may go ahead on a UK undercard, although the staging of the bout in Belfast was said to be a key element to making it happen.