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Meli planning to build title momentum

Alfredo Meli faces a stern test against former world amateur bronzde medalist Araik Marutjan Alfredo Meli faces a stern test against former world amateur bronzde medalist Araik Marutjan
By David Mohan

HAVING gone through a stop-start couple of years, Alfredo Meli believes victory over Araik Marutjan on Saturday will propel him into the title mix and get his career firmly back on track.

The only minor blemish on Meli’s 17-fight record is a draw with Conrad Cummings for the Celtic middleweight title back in 2015 and while a rematch to settle the argument seemed likely at some point, it never materialised.

Instead, Meli endured some bad luck as a proposed Commonwealth title eliminator with Sam Sheedy fell through after irregularities with a brain scan that was eventually cleared up.

However, that meant he was out of action for over a year with just one fight in 2016, two in 2017 and one in 2018, so it appeared things were fizzling out.

That would have been a huge shame given the former Immaculata amateur’s undoubted talents and having recoded a second round stoppage win over Achilles Szabo at the Ulster Hall in March, he will aim to push on with a good step-up against Marutjan who will arrive in the Falls Park with an 8-0 record.

“Just to be fighting at the Féile is special because it’s such a big stage for any boxer,” he said.

“It’s a cracking bill so I’m just delighted to be on it.”

Meli was never known as a devastating puncher with five stoppages in his 16 wins, but two of those came in his last couple of fights including the win over Szabo where his showed a real killer instinct.

“I just saw the opportunity and took it,” he recalls.

“We had been working on a few things and he was a good, tough lad there to win. I knew he was durable and didn’t think I would have him out of there so quickly, so I was happy enough with how that went.”

‘Fredo’ is fully aware his German-based Armenian opponent will arrive in Belfast this weekend with his own ambitions so is expecting a tough fight.

Marutjan has built momentum in his career with those eight wins in just under two years and has been gradually climbed the ladder, so the Ballymurphy southpaw is taking nothing for granted against the former world amateur medalist, but knows a good win will ensure he can push on and realise his potential.

“The thing about this is that it’s great to be back again,” confirmed the 29 year-old.

“I just really want to stay busy and keep training because there are opportunities there.

“This is going to be a good fight because he is unbeaten too. If he comes here and gets the win, then he is going to get a chance for titles so he won’t be here to be pushed about. That means that it should be a great fight.

“I am going to have to prove myself here, so it’s a big chance for both of us. I win this and I want to be aiming for titles.”

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