A big Irish title fight has been confirmed for the undercard of Ryan Burnett’s world title challenge at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast next month.
Burnett takes on IBF bantamweight champion Lee Haskins on Saturday June 10th, live on Sky Sports, and it wont be the only title fight on the Matchroom bill.
The vacant Irish cruiserweight title will be contested by veteran former champ Ian Tims of Dublin, and rising Swindon hardman Luke Watkins – whose mother hails from Wexford.
The bout had looked likely to land on the BoxNation ‘Battle of Belfast’ card the following week, but will now take place in front of the Sky cameras.
Clondalkin’s Tims [13(4)-3(2)] defeated Michael Sweeney on a narrow (97:95) points decision to win the belt at the City West Hotel in Dublin back in 2011. This win would propel him to an EU title challenge the following year where he was edged out in Finland by champion Juho Haapoja (112:116, 113:115 x2).
A spate of injuries would follow before he returned to pole position to reclaim the belt with a BUI Celtic title win over Michael Sweeney in 2014 before linking up with Mack The Knife Global as well as moving to former trainer Phil Sutcliffe Snr with whom has won two fights in a row.
27 year old Watkins [10(6)-0] has built steadily under trainer and manager Paddy Fitzpatrick of county Clare, and will look to make a catapulting step up here.
The Irish title fight will feature on the Ryan Burnett v Lee Haskins undercard alongside Carl McDonald, Sean Magee, Feargal McCrory, Matt Wilton, Tyrone McCullagh, Paul Hyland Jr, James Tennyson, Padraig McCrory, and Paddy Gallagher.
Tickets for ‘Belfast Boy’ on June 10th at the SSE Odyssey Arena cost £30, £40, £60, £100, and £150 (VIP), and can be bought from the boxers involved or HERE.
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show: