Irish News Past Papers - Oct 31 1998: Irish fans flood in to Atlantic City for Wayne McCullough v Naseem Hamed fight
IRISH fans poured into Atlantic City on Thursday to cheer on Belfast boy Wayne McCullough, laying hundreds of dollars in bets on a upset in his fight tonight with WBO world featherweight champion Naseem Hamed.
Boxing supporters from all over the world have arrived for the $2.5m HamedMcCullough clash at Bally's Park Place Casino complex ... the most expensive featherweight fight in history.
American pay-per-view television giants HBO, who have spent four million dollars on the triple world title card, were furious at Hamed’s failure to attend promotional engagements in New York last week.
The arena capacity has been cut as ticket sales fell after Naseem’s non-appearance and a legal battle in London between promoters Frank Warren and Don King.
A limit of approximately 13,000 seats has been made, and HBO chief Lou DiBella said yesterday that 4,500 tickets remained unsold.
He said: “I hope people come along now, it’s better to be here, and I don’t mind if we lose a few thousand subscribers to the network, if they come to Bally’s and see the fight live.
“This event is good for boxing. Naz is good for HBO. He’s good for boxing, and this will be a great fight with Wayne McCullough of Ireland.”
UUJ hurlers continue their division one league programme with a home tie against Trinity at Jordanstown today.
The Poly hurlers made an impressive start to the season with a 2-11 to 0-6 win over St Patrick’s, Drumcondra a fortnight ago.
Antrim county players Conor Cunning and Michael Kettle showed up well in that one and both are likely to start again today.
Other UUJ players include Derry countymen Joe McEldowney and Raymond O’Hagan plus Armagh man Alan Taylor.
Jordanstown are managed this season by former Antrim minor manager Mickey McCallin.
UUJ freshers made an impressive start to their campaign by defeating Queen’s 3-11 to 1-3.
OISIN McConville’s inclusion in the Armagh team indicates that the difficulties between the two Brians and Crossmaglen which dogged the county last winter have been well and truly sorted out.
Armagh, with the likes of the McNulty brothers, Mark McNeill, Jarlath Burns and Diarmuid Marsden all involved look to have picked a strong line-up.
Donegal, on the other hand, have been dogged by something on an injury crisis with Tony Boyle, Mark Crossan, John Duffy among the host of players unavailable.
COLIN Montgomerie answered Lee Westwood’s charge in stunning fashion in Spain yesterday to remain on course for a remarkable sixth successive European Order of Merit title.
Westwood added a 68 to his opening 70 at the season-ending Volvo Masters at Montecastillo near Jerez, but two late eagles and an even later birdie put Montgomerie back in charge of his own destiny.
The race to be number one for 1998 is far from over with Westwood, his closest challenger for the crown, just a stroke behind.
But Darren Clarke, the only other man who can end Montgomerie’s reign, will now have to produce two of the best rounds of his life to do it.
Clarke has to win on Sunday even to have a chance of catching the Scot, but, having taken a share of the first round lead with a 67, he managed only a 73 and is now down in 10th place on four under.