BOXING: Another night of top-class boxing is assured this weekend when some of the best fighters from these islands go into action on both sides of the Atlantic.
On the undercard of the Sergio Martinez-Sergiy Dzinziruk fight in Connecticut, Scotland's unbeaten Craig McEwan matches up against Ireland's formidable Andy Lee at middleweight.
It's an all-Celtic affair which for both men will be a career defining fight, especially as the victor could find himself fighting the winner of the main event for the title.
With the fight being carried live on HBO both men, who met once in the amateurs back in 2005 when Lee emerged victorious, will be desperate to impress.
McEwan, from Edinburgh, travelled to Freddie Roach's Wildcard Gym soon after turning pro back in 2006.
He did so on the back of a sterling amateur career of over 300 fights during which he twice represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games, winning the bronze in 2002.
After just two weeks of training, McEwan had so impressed Roach that not only did the legendary trainer agree to train the 28-year-old Scot he also decided to be his manager.
Since then southpaw McEwan has put together an impressive record of 19 wins from 19 fights, with 10 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
One of those wins was against Brian Vera, who earlier defeated Lee, thus bringing some added spice to Saturday's fight.
A fighter who brings style and elegance to the ring, McEwan utilises fast feet as his main source of defence, which he combines with a high work rate and combination punching to wear his opponents down usually into the late rounds.
Previously, he's attracted criticism for lacking stamina and conditioning, but for this fight he's been working with a dedicated strength and conditioning coach at Wildcard and has been sparring with some top contenders.
Another intriguing aspect to this contest is that while McEwan will have Freddie Roach in his corner, Andy Lee will have another legendary trainer in the shape of Emmanuel Steward in his.
Like McEwan, Lee decided to head Stateside upon joining the pro ranks, teaming up with Steward at his Kronk Gym in Detroit, a boxing institution all on its own.
Known as the Limerick Assassin, Lee has a pro record of 25 fights, including one loss, with 18 of his wins coming by way of knockout.
Lee like McEwan is a southpaw, though of the two the Irishman carries more power.
On paper it promises to be an intriguing contest between two men on the verge of breaking through to championship level.
Meanwhile, on the same night, in yet another Frank Warren promotion, Scotland's popular world champion Ricky Burns mounts the second defence of his WBO superfeatherweight title in Glasgow against Ghana's Joseph Laryea.
Laryea last fought on the undercard of Burns's previous title defence in December, when he comprehensively outpointed former British featherweight champion Paul Appleby over 12 rounds.
Talk before this fight had been of a future encounter between Burns and Appleby.
However, the Ghanaian proceeded to rip up the script and now finds himself with a shot at the title instead.
Both Burns and Laryea like to fight on the outside, so it will be interesting to see how this fight develops.
It could well turn out to be a battle of the jabs, though Burns will undoubtedly find it hard to refrain from trying to close the distance as the fight goes on in front of what will be another raucous home support.
England's Michael Jennings had been due to fight Scotland's Gary McMillan at welterweight on the same bill.
However, it was announced yesterday that Jennings has had to pull out due to a back injury.
The news is a blow to Jennings who, coming off the back of two defeats in his last four fights, both against top-class opposition in the shape of Miguel Cotto and Kell Brook, was keen to get his career back on track with an impressive performance.
For Edinburgh-based southpaw McMillan, the fight had represented a chance to bring himself to the attention of the wider boxing public.
One to watch on the undercard is John Thain, who makes his fourth appearance as a professional.
The 6'1" light welterweight delighted the crowd last time out with a post-fight celebration that evoked memories of a young Cassius Clay.
Finally, at time of writing it has just been announced that a late addition to the Burns card is James "Chunky" DeGale, fighting an eight rounder against an as yet unnamed opponent.
Easily one of the most exciting talents seen in this country in many a year, DeGale's addition to proceedings will certainly do no harm to ticket sales.
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