Irish Wild Geese feature on first big BT Sport bill

The landscape-changing BoxNation-BT Sport deal begins with a bang tomorrow night.

Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions have linked up with the major broadcaster and the first big show will take place at the Manchester Arena tomorrow (April 8th).

Topping the card is the WBO lightweight title fight between Terry Flanagan and Petr Petrov, and the WBO interim light middleweight title fight between Liam Smith and Liam WIlliams (with the winner expected to be upgraded to champion soon in light of current beltholder Canelo Alvarez’s move to super middleweight).

While there are no Irish-born fighters in action (the first Irish boxer on a BT Sport bill will be Chris Blaney in Leicester on April 22nd), there are a trio of Wild Geese on the card.

Most prominently, former WBO light middleweight title challenger Jimmy Kelly [20(8)-1(1)] will take on Rick Godding [23(3)-1(0)] over 10 rounds. The Carlow-Wythenshawe boxer lost to Liam Smith on the Andy Lee v Billy Joe Saunders bill back in December 2015 and spent last year rebuilding with three easy wins and a link-up with MTK.

The 24 year old is a slight (2/5) favourite over Godding (7/4) in a bout which many feel could catch fire.

Then there are two boxers who have recently signed with Warren.

‘Kid Shamrock’ JJ Metcalf [14(6)-0], son of Shea Neary, will fight on the bill in an eight rounder. Coming off a career-best win over Olympian Serge Ambomo, Metcalf was initially due to face former British title challenger Mark Thompson. However, a pull out means that the Liverpudlian will now box tough journeyman Jason Ball [9(5)-23(3)-1].

Kildare-Oldham super middleweight Mark Heffron [14(12)-0], viewed as one of the most talented prospects in Britain, will continue his resurgence under trainer Kevin Maree. Heffron will take on Ferenc Szabo [15(7)-22915)-2] in a keep busy eight-round bout before a move down to middleweight where he will go in search of domestic titles.

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