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Middle Village’s Duddy set for IBF shot

Middle Village resident John Duddy returned from a five-month layoff to defeat Charles Howe by unanimous decision June 28 at the Park Plaza Castle in Boston, Mass. Duddy, a native of County Derry in Ireland, improved to 25-0 in the 10-round middleweight bout.

Duddy was in line for a title bout with WBO and WBC middleweight champion, but those plans were nixed when Duddy suffered a number of cuts and gashes in a 10-round majority decision victory against Walid Smichet at Madison Square Garden Feb. 23.

“I made a point that I don’t have to be brave all of the time,” Duddy told reporters after the fight. “Just because I can take a punch doesn’t mean I have to.”

Duddy, ranked No. 2 in the world by both the WBO and WBC, will still get his title shot, but not as a middleweight. According to published reports, Duddy will fight Verno Phillips for the IBF light-middleweight crown in late October. The bout will likely take place at Madison Square Garden, Ireland or Las Vegas.

Also on June 28, South Jamaica native Monte Barrett made short work of Tye Fields, knocking out the 6-foot-9 heavyweight from Las Vegas 57 seconds into the first round at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

A former football standout at John Adams HS, Barrett, 37, improves to 34-6 with 20 knockouts and has won three straight bouts after three consecutive losses. “Two Gunz” lost a unanimous decision to Hasim Rahman and lost by 11th round TKO in a pair of championship bouts and then suffered a stunning second round TKO to journeyman Cliff Couser on July 7, 2007. Five months later Barrett avenged the defeat, winning by second round TKO at Paraside Theater in the Bronx.

Barrett has also registered a knockout win against Damon Reed Feb. 2, 2008 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“The Flushing Flash,” Kevin Kelley (60-8-2) returned to the ring after a 19-month layoff  to defeat Jaime Palma in 10-round unanimous decision at the Las Vegas Hilton July 8. A former WBC featherweight champion Kelley, 41, lost a 12-round majority decision against Manuel Medina at Madison Square Garden in his last bout on Nov. 11, 2006. Kelley, who is an accomplished HBO analyst, also returned to the ring for the first time since having surgery to repair a detached retina in his left eye.

“It felt good to be back in there,” Kelley told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Sixty wins. That’s sweet!”

“Mean” Joe Greene (19-0, 14 KOs), a 22-year-old from South Jamaica, will look to defend his NABA middleweight championship when he takes on Colombian Jose Miguel Torres (20-3, 18 KOs) in the co-headline of ESPN2’s “Wednesday Night Fights,” Aug. 13 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casinoin Hollywood, Fla.

Reach Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at dbutler@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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