Boxing: Dunne Can Court Fame and Fortune If He Avoids a Jail Sentence; DUNNE V JAILAUOV, DUBLIN, TOMORROW BERNARD CAN'T ALLOW KAZAKH FIGHTER TO BAR HIM FROM WORLD SCENE
Byline: Michael SCULLY Chief Sports Writer
BERNARD Dunne defends his European title at a sold-out Point tomorrow knowing that the easy part was to win his super-bantamweight belt - and that the hard stuff lies ahead.
Dunne, 27, returns to the venue after his triumphant points victory over Esham Pickering in November.
Taken 12 rounds for the first time, it was an emotional night he will never forget.
The Dubliner's opponent is 29-year-old Kazakh fighter Yersin Jailauov, who had a fine reputation as an amateur before turning pro seven years ago where his record stands at a respectable 19 wins from 23 bouts.
Of more relevance is that Jailauov came close enough to beating Michael Hunter, a boxer who had been in Dunne's sights for some time.
Jailauov is still frustrated that fight was stopped in what many observers felt was in premature fashion.
Dunne's promoter Brian Peters believes Jailauov was hard done by and, with that in mind, Dunne and his trainer Harry Hawkins have spent a lot of time studying videos of the Eastern European fighter.
Having secured the EBU belt, Dunne does not want to give it up easily.
"The hard part is defending the belt against guys who want to take it from me. I have to get myself up to that level again," said Dunne.
"Some people rest on their laurels when they achieve something, but we want to go on further. I'm 100 per cent focused on this guy, I have a job to do and can't cut any corners.
"He's walking into my home town trying to take my belt and I know I have to keep focused on keeping my title."
The Dunne camp are still working towards a world title challenge and know there can be no slip-ups along the way.
The Neilstown fighter is seeking his 23rd consecutive victory since turning pro - of which 13 of those wins have been knock-outs - the most memorable to date was his points win over Pickering late last year.
Over 7,000 fans packed into the Point to watch the Irish Rover go the distance for the first time and witnessed Dunne claim the victory with a mature, composed performance that perhaps had been lacking to that point against lesser opponents.
Half a million more watched on television and RTE are broadcasting tomorrow night's fight live as well.
Reflecting on that night, Dunne admitted: "That was incredible, that's probably the proudest moment of my life, apart from the birth of my child. …