Belfast opponents confirmed for Crocker, Sutcliffe, and Sheehan

Another handful of opponents have been confirmed for the big Belfast BoxNation show this Friday [March 10th] at the Waterfront Hall.

In addition to confirmed opponents for Jamie Conlan, Paddy Barnes, and Marco McCullough, the identities of the men in the opposite corner for Lewis Crocker, Phil Sutcliffe, and Con Sheehan have been revealed.

The Queensberry Promotions bill sees the debut of big hitting Belfast youngster Crocker. ‘The Croc’ was due to feature on the last Belfast BoxNation bill in November but was forced to withdraw following nose surgery. This time round he will make his bow against Hungarian Ferenc Jarko [1(0)-0]. 20 year old Jarko debuted last month at light middleweight with a points win over Jozsef Takacs and comes into the four-round bout as a complete unknown quantity.

Sutcliffe [12(7)-1(0)] had been due to box Lee Gillespie [7(1)-1(0)] on February 18th before a cold suffered by Conlan led to the card being postponed this weekend. The Dublin light welter also has a big fight lined up with Josh Leather in Leeds in May, so his opponent for the six rounder has been slightly downgraded in light of the date change. Instead of Gillespie he will now face Nicaraguan Nelson Altamirano [10(6)-13(6)-2]. A familiar opponent, Altamirano gave Belfast lightweight Paul Hyland Jr a tough fight back in October – primarily due to his size advantage.

That bout at the Europa Hotel was his first on this side of the Atlantic, and he now bases himself in Barcelona and has performed the role of journeyman since, fighting contenders across Europe. The Central American has shown that he can be stopped, and was indeed put down by Hyland, so an inside-the-distance win from Sutcliffe seems a strong possibility in this warm-up bout.

Team Fury heavyweight Sheehan [4(1)-0] will box in another eight rounder, his third, on the bill. The Tipperary big man will face experienced Hungarian Ferenc Zsalek [19(5)-55(24)-6]. The Magyar is regularly stopped early when he ventures outside of Hungary, although admittedly he has not suffered a stoppage loss in almost a year.

Zsalek has some testy Irish previous too, having been involved in a double disqualification no contest with Sheehan’s Irish title rival Sean Turner last May. In this fight in Marbella, Turner dropped the Central European in the first before both were turfed out in the second round for continuing to fight after the bell.

The bout is a step down in opposition for Sheehan following his win over Kamil Sokolowski on the last Belfast BoxNation show, however it is the plan of trainer Peter Fury and MTK to keep the Clonmel giant exceedingly busy over the next couple of months.

The card this weekend will be headlined by Commonwealth super flyweight champion Jamie Conlan against former world title challenger Yader Cardoza, and will also feature an Irish super featherweight title clash between Deco Geraghty and James Tennyson, and a BUI Celtic light welterweight fight between Tyrone McKenna and Jake Hanney. Other names on the card include Marco McCullough, Steven Ward, and Joe Fitzpatrick, as well as English fighters Troy Williamson and Kevin Satchell..

Tickets are available through the Waterfront Hall (CLICK HERE) or through the boxers themselves (which is the avenue we would recommend).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie