“I’m going there to win that belt and break his heart”

By Stephen Leonard

LUKE Keeler will be satisfied with nothing less than victory and the WBO World Middleweight title when he faces unbeaten champion Demetrius Andrade in Miami next week.

While the 32-year-old Ballyfermot boxer remains the clear underdog ahead of this showdown, he insists he will serve up one of the biggest shocks in world boxing when he faces off against the American southpaw on the hugely-anticipated bill in Meridian at Island Gardens.

Luke Keeler preview 230120

Ballyfermot man Luke Keeler is adamant he will stun WBO Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade and the entire boxing world when they clash for the title in Miami next week

“I don’t accept the idea that it’s great that I’m fighting for a world title” Keeler told The Echo. “I don’t want to be just fighting for the title. That’s not acceptable to me. I’m going there to win that belt and break his heart.

“I visualise this every night before I go to bed. I see it playing out so clearly, how it’s going to go, because I know I’m going to win.

“Technically he [Andrade] is a very good boxer, but he hasn’t really stopped anyone at middleweight. He did have a soft stoppage, but that’s all.

“He’s had three or four easy defences. Those who fought him were already beaten before they got in the ring, they’re happy just to survive, but I’m going over to take that belt.

“He feels he’s at the level of someone like Canelo [Álvarez] and so he’s trying to talk his way into fights against them, but honestly, I don’t see it. I see weakness there and I just need to perform on the night.

“But I’m going to keep talking him up because I want the credit when I do beat him. When I do, I’ll be the one taking about unification fights and I’ll be wanting to fight the likes of Canelo.”

With the talk emanating from the Andrade camp in recent months mostly concerning future possible unification fights, Keeler believes he is well under the radar in terms of threats to the WBO Middleweight champion’s hold on the world belt.

That, he believes, can only work to his advantage and will make the victory the Dubliner predicts all the more remarkable next week.

“For him [Andrade], I’m more of a nuisance, someone he has to fight to keep his belt” said Keeler.

“He’s definitely looking past me and I don’t think he’s worked as hard in his camp because of that.

“I’ve seen some recent clips of him in sparring and he was blowing. He hasn’t prepared the way he would if he was fighting someone like Canelo

“There wasn’t even talk about a rematch clause. They weren’t even bothering about the safety net of a rematch and it’s only now that that they started talking about it. I supposed that’s good for me” he said.

Keeler has earned his crack at the world crown thanks to a string of impressive results over the past 20 months that featured a double win over Conrad Cummings that brought with them the WBO European Middleweight strap, followed by a stunning victory over the highly-rated Luis Arias in Belfast.

Unbeaten in his last eight fights, the Dubliner has made massive progress since going full-time in the sport and he is now brimming with confidence after another very intense camp.

“I’ve had the perfect camp” he said. “Everything’s gone amazing. I’ve put my body through the mill and it’s responded well. My fitness and by boxing abilities are at a whole new level so I’m peaking at the right time.”

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