At long last January is over and we are now into what is potentially one of the biggest months in the history of Irish boxing.
It was certainly a quiet start to 2016 with not one Irish boxer fighting last month, but it promises to be a different story in February.
It all starts this weekend when there will be an unprecedented three professional shows in Ireland over two days.
First up on Friday night is MGM’s first foray into the Irish small-hall scene. The Roadstone Club on the Naas Road in Dublin will be the venue for the madcap organised chaos that is small-hall boxing.
Top of the bill is Sean ‘Big Sexy’ Turner who will headline his first show. Joining the Dublin heavyweight on the card will be Celtic Warriors Gym trio Steve Collins Jr (light heavyweight), Ian Tims (cruiserweight), and Luke Keeler (middleweight). Also appearing on the show will be MGM fighters JJ ‘Kid Shamrock’ Metcalf (light middleweight), Ciaran Mullen (super middleweight), and new signing Tyrone McKenna (welterweight).
Then, the very next night, MGM will host their second show in Dublin in two days when, alongside Boxnation, they take over the National Stadium for a third time. Their ‘Clash of the Clans’ offering will be headlined by Gary Corcoran’s WBO Inter-Continental light middleweight title fight with Danny Butler, and Jamie Kavanagh’s WBO European lightweight title fight with Portugal’s Antonio Joao Bento.
Appearing on the packed undercard at the famous South Circular Road venue will be the World title chasing Celtic Warriors duo Stephen Ormond (lightweight) and Pajo Hyland (featherweight), as well as heavy-punching light welterweight Phil Sutcliffe Jr who finally faces Alexandre Lepelley – a former European title challenger who he was due to face in a headline bout at the Red Cow Moran Hotel last May.
Also featuring on the massive Dublin card will be Declan Geraghty (super featherweight), Sean Creagh (welterweight), Craig O’Brien (light middleweight), Anto Fitzgerald (light middleweight), English lightweight Romeo Romaeo, and the debut of cruiserweight Gary Sweeney.
At the same time that the TV camera’s are rolling at the home of Irish boxing, there will be another show in full flow in Ireland’s boxing capital. In Belfast’s Europa Hotel MHD Promotions are running another dinner show titled ‘Elimination’ after the hugely popular ‘Champions at the Europa’ card last October.
Top of the bill in Belfast is James Fryers who takes a step up in class and meet England’s Maxi Hughes in a British super featherweight title eliminator. Also appearing is featherweight James Tennyson in a warm-up bout before his British title fight in April and lightweight crowd-please Paul Hyland Jr.
Rounding off the card are a trio of hot Northern prospects – lightweights Joe Fitzpatrick and Feargal McCrory and super bantamweight Tyrone McCullagh.
It promises to be a huge weekend for Irish boxing, but the big one is, of course, on February 27th across the Irish Sea at the Manchester Arena where Carl Frampton will finally lock horns with Scott Quigg.
The IBF-WBA title unification is sure to be one of the biggest fights of the year and the show has a distinct Irish feel to it. Fighting on the undercard will be Belfast’s British bantamweight champion Ryan Burnett and Marco McCullough who takes on Isaac Lowe for the Commonwealth featherweight title. Another Belfast man, Luke Wilton, will be hoping to pull off an upset when he faces rising Matchroom star, and English champion, Charlie Edwards in a British flyweight final eliminator. Cyclone middleweight star Conrad Cummings is another who will be looking to make a statement in front of the massive audience.
Away from the Irish fighters, there are also slots on the card for Cyclone’s light welterweight Josh Taylor, a debut for Scott Fitzgerald, and a British light heavyweight title fight between Hosea Burton and Miles Shinkwin, as well as rumoured appearances by Marcus Morrison and Gavin McDonnell.
Also occurring during February is an outing for Irish light middleweight title hopeful Pauly Upton on February 19th against Kevin McAuley in Walsall, an AIBA Pro Boxing debut for Ray Moylette against Batuhan Gözgeç in Istanbul, and a trip to Bulgaria for our Olympic boxers for the Strandja Memorial Tournament.
All in all, a massively busy month for Irish fighters, writers, and fans – but we all wouldn’t want it any other way!