2021 Irish homecoming planned for Tiernan Bradley

Tiernan Bradley competes in his fifth professional contest this Sunday afternoon and wants to be fighting in Ireland sooner rather than later.

The Omagh lightweight will be having his second fight in Belgium following two in Spain and a debut in Poland – but is keen to have outings in Ireland before the end of the year.

The talk raises the thorny issue of fighting in Ireland for fighters from either or both of the Slater Sports Consultancy management stable or the O’Rourke’s Gym. Bradley belongs to both.

While there has been little said on record, a bad relationship between Slater and the Boxing Union of Ireland – whom govern the sport in the 26 counties – is well-known in Irish boxing circles.

It would appear, although it is not currently official, that Slater’s fighters are unable to compete on BUI shows. There were also widespead talk that the ‘He Who Dares’ show set for Belfast in October 2019 – under BBBofC jurisdiction – was pulled after BUI protest.

Speaking to Boxing Tickets Northern Ireland recently, the Slater Sports Consultancy boss went on record regarding the issue for the first time and confirmed that “none of the guys I currently manage in Ireland have BUI licenses.”

Slater claims it got ‘personal’ after he had split from Kaz Evans and Assassin Promotions, explaining how “Kaz, who was working with the BUI, had a fallout with the BUI in May 2019, so it was nothing to do with Last Man Standing, over a boxer and a contract. An issue arose over the fighter wanting to leave the contract and Kaz wanting to keep the boxer. The BUI made a statement [in April 2018] saying Assassin and Kaz had no wrongdoing in the Last Man Standing.”

“After I left Assassin there was an issue with the BUI. I went back to them in July 2019, I said I’d work with them and the two of us just didn’t see eye to eye. The two of us just didn’t see eye to eye to be quite honest, there were still ongoing issues and so on.”

“Listen, you don’t need me to say and there are people that still work with the BUI who have issues with the cost that are associated, the obstacles that are put in place. It was a lot of heartache and it got personal. We decided to operate within the EBU but on our own.”

Irish-boxing.com understands all Slater’s fighters were well up-to-date on the issue and potential limitations but have little by way of concerns, particularly as they have been kept busy over the pandemic regardless.

John Cooney, Tiernan Bradley, Tony Browne, Steven O’Rourke, Ryan O’Rourke, and Conor Slater

In terms of Bradley specifically, while he is based in Dublin, the Tyrone fighter would be perhaps better suited to fights in nearby Belfast where cards are under the jurisdiction of the British Boxing Board of Control.

The 24-year-old was in the corner for younger brother Callum who fought at the Féile earlier this month and is hungry to box closer to home

“Fighting at home has been something I’ve wanted from the start,” he told Irish-boxing.com before revealing plans are in place for an imminent homecoming.

“When I started working with Conor Slater he said that he will work his ass off to make it a possibility and we are very close to this being a reality before the end of the year.”

“This is why I want to keep stepping up so I can start to headline these shows and bring some serious fights to my fans who are waiting patiently to come to see me fight at home.”

“It was great being in Callum’s corner. It’s always more personal whenever it’s your family fighting. I’d far rather be the one fighting than the one watching, all the nerves.”

“It also got me buzzing and thinking about being part of such a huge card. Hopefully, some day I’ll be able to fight on a Féile card or have my own outdoor boxing card!”

As mentioned above, the ‘He Who Dares’ card in October 2019 was cancelled in rather mysterious circumstances. London veteran Mickey Helliet was the listed promoter for this BBBoC-sanctioned bill but there was an obvious large involvement of Slater who said following the cancellation that “we are devastated for the boxers who have been left affected but this was simply out of our control.”

Since then, no fighters aligned to Slater have fought on the island of Ireland and a general lack of solid information raises a few worries about such boxers competing in Belfast.

The younger Bradley, who is managed by MTK Global and has a BUI licence, fought at the Féile without coach O’Rourke, which would have been his first bout with the Mancunian in the corner, but Irish-Boxing.com have been informed that this was not a BUI issue.

Pro boxing returned to Ireland at the Féile and there will be more Belfast action at the Europa Hotel on September 4th as MHD Promotions present ‘Bomb Proof’. Both Boxing Ireland and MTK are mooted to be running shows in the Titanic City this Autumn while Boxing Ireland are also vocally aiming to return to Dublin before the year is out. Additionally there are whispers of a Ring Kings 2 show for Waterford in the pipeline.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com