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Duddy plans to keep New Year's resolution in Astorga bout

The non-title contest, on a card featuring two world championship bouts, is scheduled for eight rounds.

Duddy is hopeful that his ninth appearance at the fabled Garden -- a record for an Irish fighter -- will be a memorable one for his legion of fans.

"I've watched his tapes and he's a strong, come-forward fighter," the Derry Destroyer [27-1, 17 KOs] said of Astorga. "I won't have to look for him in the ring. It should be an exciting contest for the fans."

"I'm feeling good and hope they'll enjoy a great night," he added.

"He's gonna win," Duddy trainer Harry Keitt guaranteed. "He's in much better shape for this fight than the one before."

Keitt and Duddy reunited some three weeks before the fighter's last bout, a lopsided points victory over Michi Munoz last October. They have been in the gym for close to three months since. It's one of the longest training stints Duddy has undergone in his seven-year career.

"John's in tip-top shape. He's strong, in magnificent shape and is gonna win, possibly by KO, although we won't be looking for it," the bullish Keitt predicted. "If we get the KO, we'll take it. But we'll just be looking for the 'W' [win]."

In Astorga, who at 31 is a year older than him, Duddy faces a KO artist, albeit one with a brittle chin of sorts.

A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, now residing in Texas, Astorga has scored nine knockouts in his 14 victories and lost three times, all via stoppage. Two of those three defeats have come in his last four fights: against James Cook [TKO 4] and Ronald Hearns [TKO 8].

Astorga also has one draw on his ledger.

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