Debut Details for Willo Hayden – Opponent + Rounds Surprise

Details of Willo Hayden‘s debut this weekend have been confirmed by Queensberry Promotions.

The Dubliner has been signed by Frank Warren’s outfit and will debut on the ‘Night of Champions’ bill at the Arena Birmingham on Saturday night [August 28th].

The 19-year-old Crumlin graduate signed for Queensberry earlier this year with more fanfare afforded to him than most top Irish prospects, with attention being drawn to his European Schoolboys gold medal and his link to UFC star Conor McGregor.

Hayden’s debut opponent will be 32-year-old Telford veteran Dean Jones. The experienced journeyman has fought 30 times in three years, entirely out of the away corner, winning just once but impressively only being stopped once – a ‘TKO’ loss that came in the sixth and final round versus prospect Dean Dodge due to a cut.

Furthermore, Jones has won at least a share of a round in over half of his bouts, suggesting he brings some aggression to the table (and that some of his losses are dubious).

The contest is listed as a light welterweight bout [140lbs], with day-before weigh-ins seemingly allowing Hayden to drop down from the welterweight class [152lbs] in where he finished his amateur career.

Perhaps the most encouraging and surprising aspect of Hayden’s debut is that it will take place across six rounds. This despite him still being a teenager and having only started boxing three-minute rounds two years ago.

While nothing is yet confirmed, it is not expected that Hayden v Jones will be televised live on BT Sport – although it is hoped that highlights will be shown.


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Speaking to before his debut was confirmed, Hayden described how “anyone who has watched me knows I’m very aggressive, that I can bang and that I love a good scrap but I’ll box whatever way I have to to beat my opponents.”

:If he’s sloppy and loves to grab I’ll box him at range if I have to. So all depends on my opponent but no matter what way I’m boxing I’ll be looking to put on an entertaining performance.”

The card this weekend also features a British super featherweight title defence from Belfast’s Anto Cacace who, at last, will face Lyon Woodstock.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: