Jack­son earns right to be heard

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - ADAM SMITH REPORTS

OVER to you, Mr Hodg­man. Tas­ma­nian Luke Jack­son took a step closer to a world ti­tle fight on home soil against Os­car Valdez by ac­count­ing for fel­low Mex­i­can Hum­berto de San­ti­ago on Saturday night. All the WBO Ori­en­tal feath­er­weight cham­pion needs is Gov­ern­ment sup­port — and the Pre­mier is ready to lis­ten.

UN­BEATEN WBO Ori­en­tal feath­er­weight cham­pion Luke Jack­son has played his part on the path to­wards a world ti­tle fight on home soil — and the State Gov­ern­ment is ready to lis­ten.

Jack­son im­proved his pro­fes­sional record to 15-0 with a unan­i­mous points de­ci­sion against Hum­berto de San­ti­ago at City Hall on Saturday night, out­class­ing the Mex­i­can through­out the 10 rounds.

He now has an­other Mexi- can firmly in his sights in WBO world feath­er­weight cham­pion Os­car Valdez.

Jack­son will rise to in­side the top six in the WBO feath­er­weight rank­ings by the end of the year and, if Valdez beats Filipino Ge­n­e­sis Ser­va­nia next week­end in Tuc­son, Arizona, it will pave the way for a po­ten­tial show­down in Ho­bart next March.

“If Will [Hodg­man] and the Gov­ern­ment get be­hind me, we can get Os­car Valdez here in March next year, 100 per cent,” Jack­son said yes­ter­day.

“If the gov­ern­ment wants it, and Ho­bart wants it, we can make it hap­pen.”

A purse of at least $300,000 would be re­quired to lure Valdez to Tas­ma­nia — only achiev­able if Jack­son can get Gov­ern­ment sup­port.

Daniel Geale twice held world ti­tle fights at the Der­went En­ter­tain­ment Cen­tre, both with Gov­ern­ment back­ing, and Pre­mier Hodg­man told the Mer­cury he will sit down with Jack­son to look at the avail­able op­tions.

“The Tas­ma­nian Gov­ern- ment would look closely at any pro­posal to se­cure a world ti­tle bout,” Mr Hodg­man said.

“Luke Jack­son is a great Tassie suc­cess story, prov­ing again he is at the peak in his sport.

“If we can lever­age off this to se­cure an event that stacks up against the other many re­quests for pub­lic fund­ing we would give it se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion.”

Jack­son, a for­mer Olympic rep­re­sen­ta­tive and Com­mon­wealth Games bronze medal­list, said a world ti­tle fight in his home town would not only be a dream come true but bring the best out of him.

“The bet­ter the op­po­si­tion the bet­ter I fight. Last night I put on a good per­for­mance against a guy who was a cred­i­ble op­po­nent,” Jack­son said.

“I want to thank all the fans once again. With­out the sup­port of Tas­ma­nia it wouldn’t be pos­si­ble, I am very humbled by it.

“A lit­tle kid from Claren­don Vale fight­ing for the world ti­tle in his home state, it doesn’t get much bet­ter than that.”

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