/ Boxing

Dunne's manager predicts tough test

Updated: Sunday, 24 Jun 2007 12:25

Bernard Dunne will have to step it up a gear against Kiko Martinez
Bernard Dunne will have to step it up a gear against Kiko Martinez

Bernard Dunne's manager believes the fighter is entering the danger zone when he makes the mandatory defence of his European super-bantamweight title.

Dunne was a comprehensive unanimous points winner over Norway's Reidar Walstad in Dublin's Point Depot last night, leaving the challenger's face a bloody mess after 12 one-sided rounds.

But now the 27-year-old must look ahead to a mandatory defence against unbeaten Spaniard Kiko Martinez, with the fight going out to purse offers.

And manager Brian Peters explained: 'Martinez is a very dangerous fighter - this is a fight that will be a defining part of Bernard's career.

'Martinez is unbeaten, he has a string of knockouts on his record and Bernard will have to raise his game even more to beat him.

'It's a fight that if he wins will just confirm him as the best super-bantamweight in Europe and then he can move on from this level.'

Peters was pleased with the way Dunne handled Walstad, who had defeated him as an amateur in the 1997 European Championships though insisted the best was still to come.

The Irish star hardly lost a round in Dublin last night despite the scoring of 116-112, 115-113 and 118-111 but did seem to tire in the latter stages and was unable to stop the challenger who at times seemed to used as target practice.

Peters added: 'People have to realise that Bernard Dunne is not the finished article, not by a long way.

'I thought he did a very good job against a tough opponent but still has a lot to work on and we still haven't seen the best of Bernard.

'Maybe he could have stepped it up a bit and tried to stop the guy but you have to give Walstad credit for standing up to a lot of heavy shots.

'It was a hell of a fight. It was a tough 12 rounds and I needed that.'

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