Barry McGuigan: We can make Welsh boxing great once again

Barry McGuigan
Barry McGuigan was WBA world featherweight champion in his career as a boxer and has now managed Carl Frampton to world super featherweight glory

Barry McGuigan is tipping Welsh boxing for a renaissance ahead of the first world title bill in Cardiff since 2013.

Lee Haskins' maiden defence of his IBF bantamweight title against Ivan Morales headlines the Cyclones Promotion bill at Ice Arena Wales on Saturday.

Wales' most successful amateur, Andrew Selby, headlines the undercard as he attempts to become a British champion in only his fifth professional fight.

"There's a renaissance in Welsh boxing, it can be great again," said McGuigan.

McGuigan is hoping to keep bringing boxing back to Wales as he bids to recapture the glory days of former world champion Joe Calzaghe.

More than 50,000 people saw Calzaghe defeat Mikkel Kessler at the Principality Stadium in 2007, then known as the Millennium Stadium.

"We have ambitious plans, and it is an audacious comment, but we want to get boxing back in the Principality Stadium," McGuigan told BBC Wales Sport.

Kessler v Calzaghe
Joe Calzaghe's dazzling display against Mikkel Kessler in 2007 was the last time Wales' national stadium was used for boxing

"That is exactly what we want to do. We want to go back to the Cardiff Ice Arena again and again, make this place like the Odyssey Arena in Belfast which is packed every time we have fights there.

"We want to make a success of this and bring big-time boxing back to Wales over and over again.

"There has been that level of success in the past and we want to bring it back with a vengeance."

McGuigan thinks Wales is more than keeping up with the current rise of British boxing that has led to the number of world champions from the UK entering double figures.

"Wales has the Selby brothers [Andrew and brother Lee] and a whole host of other talented kids," the former WBA world featherweight champion explained.

"We have young boxers who are going to hit the ground running as professionals and we intend to market it very aggressively.

"There is something special about the Celtic boxing fans, they have that passion for boxing and I really believe it can happen again and again.

Barry McGuigan and Joe Calzaghe
Barry McGuigan is hopeful Joe Calzaghe's return to boxing will further boost the sport's "renaissance" in Wales

"The ticket sales have been very encouraging, we are three-quarters full without any walk-up and we are expecting plenty of fans to come from Bristol as well to support Lee Haskins."

McGuigan is hopeful he will be able to work with Calzaghe in the future after the undefeated two-weight world champion told BBC Wales Sport he is going to be a BBC Wales Sport he is going to be a boxing manager.

"We are all about partnerships, amalgamating with as many people as we can. I am good at doing that, making friends and it would be brilliant to work with Joe," he said.

"Joe knows how highly we think of him... We would love to work with him."

More boxing from BBC Wales Sport
Louis Norman strips naked to make weight for Andrew Selby fight
Former world champion Joe Calzaghe to return to boxing as manager
Enzo Maccarinelli earns European title shot against Dmytro Kucher

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