BY SEÁN P. FEENY
ON Saturday, November 15, a Donegal Mixed Martial Artist steps back onto the mat following his return to the popular sport last August.
When Joseph Duffy, originally from Meenbanad, Burtonport, announced that he would be returning to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), after a two-year stint in pro boxing, fans of the sport were thrilled to welcome back the exciting athlete.
As the main attraction at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 70 at the Helix in Dublin, he defeated rising French star Damien Lapilus in a ‘tough and frustrating’ fight.
With the win back in August Joseph sent out a clear message that he is back to reclaim, not only his number one contender spot, but the Cage Warriors lightweight title.
Nearly three months on, Joseph said this week that he felt everything had fallen back into place for him very easily on his return to MMA.
“It was a tough and frustrating fight (defeating Lapilus with a third round submission), as he didn’t want to engage, but in the long run, it was probably better it went the way it did.”
On Saturday night Joseph faces another Frenchman at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 74 at the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park in London.
Julien Boussuge is seven years Joseph’s senior fighting out of Old School Academy with a record of ten wins and three losses. This is the Frenchman’s second fight with the promotion.
Joseph said: “I have seen a lot of footage of him (Boussuge) and he is similar to my previous opponent, but a little more comfortable on his feet. He is at a higher level than Lapilus, though, so I’m sure it will be a tough fight.”
Spending two years working on his stand-up game as a professional boxer, Joseph is very comfortable on his feet, but in his last fight it was his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills that got him the win to make it 11 wins and only one loss in his professional career as a Mixed Martial Artist.
He said: “During my training I try to cover everything I can to ensure that no matter where we are, standing or on the ground, I feel comfortable.”
Joseph had tremendous support at CWFC 70 in Dublin, from all Irish fans, and this time around it is expected the tricolour and Donegal flags will once again be very well represented.
The Meenbanad man said: “There will be a big crowd there again; I have a lot of family and friends from back home living over here and then there are a lot making the journey to London from Donegal.” No doubt, some of Donegal’s ‘tunnel tigers’ will be there to support Joseph.
Joseph has also been busy promoting the event and the ever-growing Cage Warriors promotion, which included a visit to the Aviva Premiership team London Irish’s training ground.
“Paul Dollery (Cage Warriors Director of Media and Operations) myself and the film crew visited London Irish and it was great; the players were all very down-to-earth and we had a fantastic time with them. Some of the hit the pads and they had huge power,” he laughed.
This week is week is all about final preparations for the affable Donegal native who is considered one of the biggest Irish prospects in the sport.
“I did a a light session yesterday (Monday) and will do a bit today, but that’s mainly working on my game plan. The rest of the week I will be relaxing, getting rid of any knots during massages and making sure I am on weight,” said Joseph.
Modest as always, Joseph said he was grateful for all the support he has received since returning to MMA and Cage Warriors. “I got such a fantastic welcome back and everyone has been so supportive, I am really grateful for that,” he said.
For more information log onto www.cagewarriors.com