Joel is ready to roll

Joel McIntyre
Joel McIntyre
Dave Birmingham. Picture: Neil Marshall

Birmingham wins Irish friends as he eyes future title

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Joel McIntyre believes his world-class sparring will give him the edge in his showdown with Danny Couzens.

The pair meet next week in an intriguing local duel, billed as Bragging Rights, at South Parade Pier.

The International Masters light-heavyweight title is up for grabs in a battle which has all the hallmarks of an entertaining match-up.

McIntyre has now completed an intensive period of sparring as the countdown to the fight gathers pace.

And the calibre of the people he’s been working with makes for impressive reading.

Former world title challenger Andy Lee and unbeaten prospect Frank Buglioni have formed the foundation of his work.

The 9-0 man believes the calibre of that opposition will pay dividends when he steps into the ring with Couzens.

McIntyre said: ‘Sparring has gone really well.

‘I’ve sparred with Andy Lee because he asked for me. That’s not bad, is it!

‘I’ve always respected Andy. He’s boxed people like Chavez Jr, so it’s obviously good for me. He’s a world class operator.

‘Andy is probably the nicest man I’ve met in boxing. He’s a proper gentleman.

‘He came in before my last fight with a new pair of gloves for me.

‘He’d seen I’d hurt my hands a couple of times and had old gloves on.

‘That shows you what type of man he is. He is a genuine fella and a top man.’

Buglioni will be looking for the 11th win of his professional career on the same night McIntyre boxes.

The Leigh Park boxer explained their work in the ring at the TKO Gym in east London had plenty of edge.

With the pair both carrying unbeaten records and in the same division, they naturally looked to gain the upper hand as they went about their work.

The end result, however, is preparations which have ensured McIntyre is razor sharp ahead of the Couzens meeting.

He said: ‘Frank was good sparring, too. We’ve done quite a few rounds together.

‘It’s always tough sparring. He’s fighting the same night as me.

‘Frank is a tidy boxer with a good chin and a strong punch.

‘We always say you could sell tickets for the sparring at the TKO.

‘It’s really competitive and that can only help you.’

McIntyre’s preparations have also taken him to Liverpool for a period of training ahead of fight night.

He was laid low while away but that is all well and truly behind him now.

McIntyre put the illness down to over-working himself in the gym, as he pushed himself to the limit.

He said: ‘It was really good in Liverpool.

‘I over-did the training a bit, though, and got ill at one stage. I was really run down and had tonsillitis and an eye infection.

‘It was because I trained so hard and the change in weather. It hits you.

‘But the good news is I’m well and truly over it now.

‘We’re well on track and things couldn’t be going better.’

Tickets are still available for the McIntyre versus Couzens dinner show event at South Parade Pier on November 30.

Tickets cost £25 or £70 for ringside seats plus three-course meal. Junior tickets for under-18s cost £10. For further information call 07884 438999.