Cage Kings Cork loses huge featherweight title rematch
News broke today that the hotly anticipated featherweight rematch between defending champion Karl Hodgers (Louth Thai) and challenger James E O’Connell (Courage) would not go ahead.
At Cage Kings Dublin last March, Hodgers shocked those in attendance with a first-round TKO victory over defending champion O’Connell to lift the title.
Since then Courage’s O’Connell has been in terrific form, most recently, winning a unification fight against Aaron O’Callaghan (Siam Warriors) last October to become the ISKA Muay Thai European + Irish and WBC International champion.
Meanwhile Hodgers headed to Thailand for a training camp with team Sasiprapa before taking on Reece Thompson for the WBC European title which he lost on decision.
When the rematch was announced it caused excitement throughout the martial arts community as we sought to find out whether O’Connell could get revenge or whether Hodgers would remain the undisputed champion.
But unfortunately today the news broke that due to unforeseen circumstances Hodgers was forced to pull out. He explained that was down to a lack of adequate training and preparation in the lead up to the fight.
He said on Facebook:
“Due to the unfortunate matter of my brother/coach getting his operation last week it left me without my pad man for the remainder of my training, also the fact we’re in the process of relocating our gym it leaves many of our fighters unable to make our training leaving me without training partners . I never take any fight lightly and train accordingly every time, this is not a matter of dodging a fight and I can’t see why I would considering the outcome of our last meeting. This fight will take place on the next available date I’m positive of that. Sorry to anybody who was looking forward to this fight I’m sure the show will be fantastic regardless.”
James E O’Connell also released a short statement in which he conveyed his disappointment at the decision.
He said, “So I’m disappointed to announce that my cage title rematch is off, wanna say sorry to the fight fans no body more gutted then I am, I wanted revenge and my cage belt back, I won my 1st Irish title back in 2011 and for the last seven years I’ve taken on all challengers, not ducked, dodged, ran or thought anyone weren’t worthy to step in the ring or cage with me , to prove I am the true number 1 featherweight in this county and a fighting champion, I ask you to name another Irish champion that has done that ….. But there’s an awful dose of fighters flue around.”