Topping the bill is a pair of vacant BUI Celtic title bouts – with Carl McDonald v Colin O’Donovan for the super bantamweight belt and Victor Rabei v Karl Kelly for the light welter strap.
Then there is also Dublin welter Keane McMahon making the move up to six rounds against Jade Karam.
All good for the top of the small hall bill but the appeal of the card has been bolstered with the release of the undercard match-ups and, to the informed eye, these ‘prospect v journeyman’ bouts promise fireworks and perhaps even a shock or two.
Following his BUI Celtic title Fight of the Year win over Colin O’Donovan last time out, Stephen McAfee [3(2)-0-1] returns here. It won’t be a walkover however as the Sallynoggin super feather has been matched with dangerous Pole Damian Lawniczak [4(0)-26(3)-1] in a six rounder. Named earlier this year as one of Irish-Boxing.com’s top away fighters, Lawniczak’s last three bouts have come in Ireland in which he has taken rounds from Aiden Metcalfe, Karl Kelly, and Victor Rabei.
Following ten months out since his debut, in which time he underwent surgery for a nose injury, Aiden Metcalfe [1(0)-0] is back in a test versus another veteran Pole familiar to Irish fight fans. The Crumlin super featherweight won’t be given any time to readjust or feel his way into things when he faces the rough and tough Krzysztof Rogowski [10(5)-26(15)]. A frequent visitor to these shores, Rogowski proved he can still drag a fighter into a war when he shared a memorable slugest with Allan Phelan last October.
John Joyce [5(3)-0] fights in his second six-rounder on the bill and the Lucan welterweight is another with a game foe. Joyce faces Bulgarian Angel Emilov [8(4)-19(2)] who has impressed on the British circuit recently. The Sofia slugger outpointed Cork-London prospect Dan-Dan Keenen in October and has since given Harlem Eubank and Tom Farrell tough fights. The Eastern European is expected to stay in for the six, with his only previous stoppages coming in the ninth round of a light middleweight title fight and versus top prospect Sam Maxwell.
At light middleweight, Graham McCormack [2(0)-0] also has a tough Bulgarian test. The Limerick fighter faces Radoslav Mitev [10(2)-40(16)-2], another frequent visitor to Irish shores who has both severely tested fighters – beating Michael Harvey and running Crank Whitehouse close – while being stopped by big punchers such as Lewis Crocker and Phil Sutcliffe. Always game, Mitev certainly is not one to shell up and will look to trade with McCormack.
Jobstown bantam Dylan McDonagh [2(1)-0] makes a step up to six rounds and is also in with a Bulgarian with a potential to upset. ‘The Firecracker’ takes on Georgi Georgiev [4(3)-10(4)-1] who comes into the bout off the back of a close eight-round points loss to English prospect Jack Hughes in May. The Eastern European has a number of one-point losses on his ledger and also stopped the then-unbeaten Sam Cantwell back in 2016.
Continuing the Bulgarian theme, Ballybrack lightweight Niall O’Connor [3(2)-0] is in with Slaveya Stefanov [4(2)-5(3)]. Scheduled for six rounds, it is a step up in this sense although Stefanov is not expected to go the distance.
Making his debut, Antrim light heavyweight Conor Cooke starts off with Poland’s Pawel Kucharski [0-1(1)] whose only previous fight saw him stopped in the fourth round by Michal Ciach – himself a tough journeyman that has frequented rings in Ireland.
Finally there is Eric Donovan. The Kildare featherweight southpaw, the reigning BUI Celtic champion, is returning from a fractured index finger on his left hand and will test the waters versus Samuil Dimitrov [1(1)-1(1)-1], a teenage Bulgarian super feather who is in Dublin to serve a purpose rather than provide a threat.
An opponent for Crumlin lightweight Martin Quinn [2(1)-0] will be confirmed shortly.
EDIT: Quinn will take on Belfast Spartan Alec Bazza [0-35(3)-3] in what will no doubt be a war. As fans will know, Bazza comes to fight and was recently unlucky not to defeat the unbeaten-in-six Kristian Touze, dropping the Welshman in the opening round but seeing the fight ruled a draw.