Undefeated Araik Marutjan has warned Alfredo Meli home advantage will count for nothing when the pair clash on the #MTKFightNight at Féile an Phobail on August 3.
German-based Marutjan (8-0, 2 KOs) meets Belfast middleweight Meli (16-0-1, 5 KOs) on a stacked card in the Falls Park – live on BT Sport in association with Frank Warren and on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.
With a sell-out crowd of 10,000 set to roar on the hometown ‘Fredo’, Marutjan is determined not just to cope with the atmosphere but thrive in it.
Marutjan said: “It is not the first time for me to fight someone in his hometown. That is not a problem at all for me, since I am able to not listen to the fans and noise too much. All I focus on is my fight and the voice of my coach
“I have also fought under the sky before. That was during a tournament in Moldova. I actually like it a lot better than fighting in an arena. There is nothing better than breathing fresh air during a fight.
“Of course, thousands of Irish fans in the middle of a festival will be impressive, but as I said before, this doesn’t affect me in a negative way. Actually, I am enjoying the sound of the fans, a quiet crowd would but pretty boring.
“I think as a boxer you are likely to be tense whenever you fight at home. So, I actually like fighting in different countries better and have fought my best battles in somebody else’s back yard. As an amateur, most of the tournaments where in foreign countries, so I am used to that feeling.
“The main thing is: I am just focusing on winning.”
Alongside the battle of two unbeaten middleweights, former world amateur champion Michael Conlan tops the bill against Diego Alberto Ruiz, Paddy Gallagher and Chris Jenkins contest the British & Commonwealth welterweight crowns and Padraig McCrory and Steve Collins Jr fight it out for the Celtic super-middleweight title.
There’s a step up to world level for Luke Keeler against highly-rated American Luis Arias, with the likes of Paddy Barnes, Sean McComb, Dennis McCann, Callum Bradley, Sean Duffy and Dee Sullivan on the undercard.