Keeler confident in his own progression ahead of title fight

By Stephen Leonard

LUKE Keeler believes the improvements he has made over the last couple of years could see him surmount the biggest challenge of his boxing career when he faces off against the unbeaten Demetrius Andrade for the WBO World Middleweight title in Miami tonight.

The Ballyfermot man insists he has come a long way since his double defeat at the hands of Tom Doran back in 2015 and ’16 which account for the only reversals in his pro-boxing career.

Luke Keeler v Luis Arias compressor compressor

Unbeaten in his last eight fights, Keeler has since twice won the WBO European Middleweight strap following victories over Conrad Cummings and really turned heads with his landmark triumph over the highly-rated Luis Arias in Belfast last summer.

While he does not boast the unblemished 28-0 record of Andrade, Keeler insists people should not be fooled by the couple of defeats that mar his own otherwise impressive boxing profile.

“My record is patched with a couple of losses, but they came when I was boxing part-time. I’ve improved so much” Keeler told The Echo.

“I have a great coach [Pete Taylor] who has made some serious adjustments to my boxing. I made many mistakes in my last fight [against Arias] even though I won, but I’ve corrected all that.

“I wanted to fight for a world title after winning that, but I still knew I had to improve and all those adjustments have given me such confidence” he said.

Meanwhile, in the build up to the fight, Matchroom Boxing USA have announced that Andrade has signed a four-fight extension to his contract.

The American southpaw has held the WBO World Middleweight strap since October 2018 when he landed the vacant title against Namibian fighter Walter Kautondokwa, and has since twice success-fully defended the prize.

Andrade appears to be already looking beyond the challenge of Keeler, believing he will soon be coming up against a lot more high-profile opposition, in the likes of Canelo Alvarez.

“As long as I am building my legacy, performing the way I need to perform and people are loving my style and the things I am doing, I am not worried about anything else as the fans are going to start demanding that these guys fight me” said Andrade.

The American fighter holds a professional record of 28-0 and is favourite to hold on to the belt tonight.

He certainly represents the biggest challenge of Keeler’s career, but the Ballyfermot man is positive he can cause a massive upset and is relishing the opportunity to do just that.

“It’s a huge stage, but it’s something I’ve always dreamt about, so it feels natural. I want to enjoy my time there [in the US], enjoy the build-up and not put myself under any stress” said Keeler.

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