BY JOHN O’SHEA
MACROOM man Noel Murphy has an upcoming date in his diary at the mecca of boxing, as he has a huge bout on a massive fight card at Madison Square Garden this Saturday, December 14th.
The 25-year-old takes on a Top Rank prospect in Josue ‘The Prodigy’ Vargas on what is a massive televised boxing card to end 2019.
For Murphy, who has won 14, drawn one and lost one of his 16 outings in the pro ranks to date, this provides a massive opportunity to see his already promising career take off beyond these shores.
There is also added significance added to this bout for Murphy, as it is for the IBF North American title.
It looks set to be the biggest fight of Murphy’s career to date, with 21-year-old Vargas winning 15 out of his 16 fights in the professional ranks so far.
A victory over the highly-rated Vargas could open a lot of doors and set up a massive 2020 for Murphy.
The Corkman recorded two wins in Boston and on Leeside earlier this year over John Joyce and Adam Mate respectively.
The latter was in the Neptune Stadium in Cork, on what was a memorable night for Noely as he got to showcase his boxing skills on his native Leeside.
It was a brilliant atmosphere, with a big Macroom contingent in the crowd cheering him on in the first professional boxing card in Cork for over a decade.
But this Saturday’s fight for Murphy at Madison Square Garden will unquestionably be the biggest one of his professional career to date.
The Murphy fight is another reason for Cork and Irish fight fans to get excited about Top Rank’s big pre-Christmas triple header that promoter Bob Arum is calling the ‘card of the year’.
This title fight for Murphy provides even more Irish interest on a card which will see Michael Conlan look for Rio revenge as he takes on old rival Vladimir Nikitin over ten rounds.
It’s a chance for Murphy to make somewhat of a name for himself outside New York and Irish boxing circles.
Murphy has had a breakthrough chance before, but was unlucky, and even one could argue hard done by, when he lost to Mikkel LesPierre in February of 2018. LesPierre since went on to challenge Maurice Hooker for WBO light welterweight title this March but was unsuccessful, being widely outpointed.
So overall, this Saturday’s bout in New York is an opportunity that Murphy will be keen to grasp with both hands.
‘Noely’s eyes lit up when he was offered the fight and he’ll have a lot of fans Irish fans behind him with Michael (Conlon) meeting Nikitin on the card, said Murphy’s manager Kevin Crowley.
‘Noely is going in as the underdog but that will bring the best out of him. We’re confident. He’s moving back down to light-welter for his first fight at the Garden.
‘The size of the crowd won’t bother him, he’ll have plenty of support anyway.’
The main event of the evening at MSG sees Terence Crawford, considered one of the best pound for pound boxers in the world, defending his WBO welterweight world title against undefeated mandatory challenger Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas.
Murphy will be among those showcasing their skills on the crunch card, which is being described by some as one of the biggest of the year.
It would be the perfect Christmas present for him if he was to bring a belt back with him to Macroom for the festive period.