Mark Dunlop kicks off 2019 for Irish boxing with a seven-fight card at the Ulster Hall – simultaneously bringing the paid side of the game back to the iconic venue for the first time since 2012.
At the top of the bill, James Tennyson returns from his world title defeat versus the unbeaten Garry Neale while Feargal McCrory and Karl Kelly do battle for the Irish lightweight title.
The undercard then sees Paul Hyland and Luke Wilton look to set up title shots, Tommy McCarthy sharpen up for his clash with Richard Riakporhe next month, and the continued development of Cathy McAleer and Mathew Fitzsimons.
Irish-Boxing.com will be ringside for every punch tonight and will be providing live round-by-round updates on the five undercard bouts before on-the-bell reports for the two main fights
First bell tonight is at 6:45pm (Irish time) and you can see the running order for the night’s action here.
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9:32pm – And that concludes our undercard coverage. Keep your eye on Irish-Boxing.com for full on-the-bell fight reports from Feargal McCrory v Karl Kelly and James Tennyson v Garry Neale.
9:30pm – Referee John Lowey scores it 78-74 in favour of Hyland. Slightly harsh, it could be argued, on Serban, but the right result. Great fight.
Round 8 – In and out from Hylo in the final round, preventing Serban from landing anything overly clean. He should have this – he does on our card, anyway.
Round 7 – Smart work by Hyland in the seventh. Landing long clean shots and tying Serban up. Could be a crucial round.
Round 6 – Hyland eats a huge left hook but manages to stay up. Boxing out of his skin just to remain in the fight. Serban is relentless.
Round 5 – HYLAND DOWN IN THE FIFTH. Big drama. Temple shot sends the Belfast fighter down in stages. He’s up, very unsteady, but manages to see out the round.
Round 4 – Serious tension here. Serban rolling forward like a tank as Hyland spins off to his right, popping off shots and keeping the Central European, largely, at bay.
Round 3 – Big shots being traded in the third. Hyland slightly busier, with a short period of boxing southpaw, but Serban has come dangerously close with the overhand right.
Round 2 – Serban is getting through with some thudding blows. This is a very tough Hyland who begins to target the body in an attempt to take some air out of the Czech’s tyres.
Round 1 – Great start. Hyland boxing well, circling and whipping in right hands but is being made to work very hard by Serban who looks HUGE.
8:51pm – Fight #5 – Paul Hyland v Miroslav Serban – 8×3 min lightweight.
8:48pm – 80-72, as expected, to Tommy McCarthy to improves to 13(6)-1(0) and now moves into a major fight with Riakporhe on March 2nd in Peterborough, live on Sky Sports.
Round 8 – McCarthy back pushing in the final round and has Svacina staggered but we go to the card.
Round 7 – Quieter seventh, McCarthy not pressing as much but still lands some big lefts in the closing 30.
Round 6 – Svacina turning his back, not throwing punches. Not taking huge shots, admittedly, staying just out of range of most, but this needs to be stopped.
Round 5 – Each passing round is increasingly dominant for McCarthy who has Svacina hurt numerous times in the fifth, forcing the Central European to turn his back on the ropes – we keep going, though.
Round 4 – A long left hook from McCarthy forces the visitor to fall into the ropes – and again moments later. Svacina’s low output is becoming non-existent as we pass the half-way mark.
Round 3 – A huge right hand from McCarthy drenches the press row in sweat from Svacina’s brown but the Czech veteran holds firm despite a flurry of lefts near the close.
Round 2 – McCarthy making more of a dent in the second, some nice right hands and some even bigger ones that just miss ever so slightly.
Round 1 – Patient start from McCarthy, popping off the jab. Svacina is wide open.
8:12pm – Here we go.
8:04pm – Next up – Fight #4 Tommy McCarthy v Jiri Svacina – 8×3 mins at cruiserweight. Important hurdle for McCarthy to pass before his WBA Inter-Continental title fight with Richard Riakporhe in three weeks time. Concentration needed.
8:01pm – 40-36 to Cathy McAleer! She moves to 2(0)-0. Six rounder next? Maybe the inaugural BUI Celtic title?
Round 4 – The brawl continues into the fourth and final round and McAleer almost makes a breakthrough following a nicely placed bodyshot but the bell comes. Pesky two minute rounds!
Round 3 – McAleer’s fitness is starting to tell and this has been her clearest round yet but Klos is still in it.
Round 2 – Klos gets the hairdryer treatment between rounds and comes out swinging, trading huge shots with McAleer who eventually gets on top and starts to show her superior skills, picking some nice shots.
Round 1 – It’s war from the start again for Cathy McAleer but the heavier shots are coming from the Belfast woman and she has Klos reeling throughout. This might not last long.
7:45pm – Fight #3 – Cathy McAleer v Sonia Klos – 4×2 mins at bantamweight.
7:41pm – 60-54 to Luke Wilton who now improves to 20(7)-5(1)-1.
Round 6 – Great action in the final round here, Bartos swinging for the hills and Wilton nailing him with some sharp shots as both empty the tank. This warmed into quite a good fight and we go to the card.
Round 5 – Wilton hurts Bartos to the body, the visitor claims it’s low but we box on, Wilton caught with a wild swinger but Bartos is in a bad was and is furiously retreating for most of the round as the Eastside man moves in for the kill.
Round 4 – Like in the third, Bartos starts quick but quickly has this beaten out of him by Wilton who is starting to put his punches together more. Can he get a stoppage?
Round 3 – The Czech swings in a huge left that clips Wilton behind the ear and ‘Winky’ responds, upping the intensity and closing the distance. Bartos doesn’t like this and reverts to circling the ring.
Round 2 – Bartos isn’t happy with a few shots from Wilton that are straying low but he hangs in there.
Round 1 – A southpaw, Bartos is tricky but Wilton goes about working him out nearly immediately and manages to sneak in a few heavy hooks.
7:14pm – Fight #2 – Luke Wilton v Patrik Bartos – 6×3 minutes at bantamweight.
7:11pm – Just back from chatting with Fitzsimons: delighted to get back to winning ways and is targeting some domestic rivals – and a rematch with Taka Bembere.
7:01pm – We go to the cards and it’s 39-37 to Mathew Fitzsimons – slightly harsh we think, on the Irishman. That’s 4(2)-1(1) now for ‘The Freak’ who rebounds from a shock stoppage loss last time out.
Round 4 – Most entertaining round of the fight, with Quinn throwing a bit more leather. This is allowing greater fluidity for Fitzsimons who sneaks in a lovely right to the body and you can hear the visitor wince.
Round 3 – Despite a massive height advantage, it’s up close where Fitzsimons is doing his best work. Comfortable for the West Belfast youngster through three.
Round 2 – Warming up here. Fitzsimons starting to put a bit more snap into the left hand and mixing to the body well. Quinn catching him with a couple of smart counters, though.
Round 1 – Very cagey to start. Fitzsimons the aggressor but little landed of note.
6:43pm – Here we go! Shout out to promoter Mark Dunlop for having the first Irish boxing show perhaps ever that has started on time.
6:41pm – First up is Belfast’s Mathew Fitzsimons v Jamie Quinn over four rounds at lightweight.
6:40pm – We are ringside and ready to go!