Irish Title Fight CONFIRMED for Ulster Hall show

The first Irish lightweight title fight in NINE years will take place on the big Ulster Hall show on Saturday February 9th.

It has been announced this morning that the MHD Promotions ‘A Night To Remember’ bill at the famous Belfast venue will feature a vacant 135lbs title scrap between Tyrone’s Feargal McCrory and Dubliner Karl Kelly.

Coalisland’s McCrory [9(3)-0] will step up in weight for the ten-round title tilt which has come somewhat out of left-field.

‘Fearless Feargal’ has long been keen to fight for the Irish belt and a testy rivalry had been brewing with super featherweight mandatory Stephen McAfee.

The pair had agreed to fight on the ‘Celtic Clash 7’ card in Dublin last month but McCrory was forced to pull out of the fight with an injured hand.

Negotiations for a refixed date would prove fruitless, with venue said to be the sticking point, and McCrory has stepped up in weight to enable a shot on the Belfast bill in six weeks time.

The John Breen-trained southpaw was last in action in October, defeating Nicaraguan Brayan Mairena on the ‘Rise Again’ card in Tallaght.

Kelly [2(0)-2(0)] comes into the bout fresh off the biggest win of his career, a controversial six-round points triumph over Martin Quinn on ‘Celtic Clash 7’.

A rematch for the inaugural BUI Celtic lightweight title on the next installment of the Boxing Ireland series was proposed and said to be provisionally sanctioned but Kelly will now instead go straight into an Irish title fight.

The Monkstown slugger fought on an MHD card earlier this year, pushing Portsmouth prospect Lucas Ballingall hard before losing to Victor Rabei for the BUI Celtic light welterweight title during the summer – a fight which grants him eligibility for the green belt.

mccrory kelly

Cavan’s Andy Murray was the last man to hold the belt, with ‘The Quiet Man’ defeating Oisin Fagan back in February 2010 at the National Stadium.

A fight between MHD’s Paul Hyland Jr and Sydney-based Galwegian Gearoid Clancy was proposed for early 2017 but rejected by the BUI.

Recent world title challenger James Tennyson headlines the bill versus undefeated Pompey lightweight Garry Neale as he seeks to set up a domestic super featherweight unification with team-mate Ronnie Clark on the next MHD bill on March 30th. Hyland Jr also features against Czech light welter champion Miroslav Serban while there will also be appearances from Tommy McCarthy, Luke Wilton, Mathew Fitzsimons, and Cathy McAleer.


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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: