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Who is Jamie Conlan defending his Commonwealth title against on November 5th?

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Jamie Conlan’s Belfast homecoming at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on November 5th is now less than five weeks away, and an opponent for his Commonwealth super flyweight title defence has yet to be announced.

The proposed rematch with Anthony Nelson, whom he shared a Fight of the Year with in April, is no longer in the pipeline with the South Shields boxer reportedly ruling himself out of the bout.

With the card at the 4,000+ seater venue looming, we took a precursory glance at the Top 20 super flyweight fighters from the Commonwealth, according to Boxrec, to see who could be in line to be the opponent for Conlan [17(11)-0] next month.

#1: Gideon Buthelezi – 17(4)-5(3) – South Africa
Very unlikely as he is the current holder of the lightly-regarded IBO World title.

#2: Khalid Yafai – 19(13)-0 – England
Definitely not. Fights Luis Concepcion for the WBA World title on the Anthony Joshua undercard in Manchester on November 26th.

#3: Makazole Tete – 15(11)-1(0)-2 – South Africa
Very possible considering his links to Queensberry (Frank Warren promotes his brother Zolani).

#4: Paul Butler – 21(12)-1(1) – England
Definitely not. Has moved up in weight to bantamweight.

#5: Luzuko Siyo – 15(12)-4(2) – South Africa
Quite possible. Last fought in April, being stopped on home soil in the seventh by WBA International trinket-holder Yohei Tobe of Japan.

#6: Iain Butcher – 14(4)-2(0) – Scotland
Very possible. Indeed maybe the most likely opponent. Also managed by MGM and was due to fight on a dinner show on October 13th but is now no longer scheduled to appear. Defeated Cameroonian Olympian Thomas Essomba last time out.

#7: Jamie Conlan

#8: Lindile Tshemese – 8(3)-1(1)-2 – South Africa
Quite possible. The current South African champion. Last fought in September so maybe too soon.

#9: Athenkosi Dumezweni – 7(4)-1(0) – South Africa
Very possible. The current WBO African champion, the organisation which Conlan and Warren seem to be favouring so this fight could be beneficial in terms of World rankings.

#10: Thomas Essomba – 7(2)-2(0) – Cameroon
Possible. British-based and easy to sell due to Olympic history. Former Commonwealth champion at flyweight as well.

#11: Jay Harris – 8(5)-0 – Wales
Definitely not. Scheduled to box Phil Smith in Cardiff on October 22nd.

#12: Julias Kisarawe – 22(11)-3(1)-1 – Tanzania
Small chance. Is actually a flyweight. Nice looking, albeit inflated, record from fighting in his home country. Fought for the WBO 112lbs Oriental title last year (stopped in the 8th by upcoming World title challenger Kwanpichit OnesongchaiGym).

#13: Sithembiso Faye – 9(1)-1(0)-1 – South Africa
Small chance. Lost to Lindile Tshemese for the South African title last time out.

#14: Hashimu Zuberi – 9(1)-1(0) – Tanzania
Possible. The African lost in a WBO interim Asia-Pacific title fight (whatever that is) last time out

#15: Anthony Nelson – 11(2)-1(1) – England
Definitely not. Has ruled himself out.

#16: Abmerk Shindjuu – 17(7)-7(0)-2 – Namibia
Small chance. Lost to Athenkosi Dumezweni for the WBO African title last time out.

#17: Sabelo Ngebinyana – 6(6)-2(0) – South Africa
Very unlikely. Lost last time out (2 weeks ago) in what was only his second ever eight rounder.

#18: Don Broadhurst – 17(4)-3(0)-1 – England
Definitely not. Fights Louis Norman in Birmingham on October 22nd.

#19: Iddi Athumani – 7(3)-1(0)-1 – Tanzania
Definitely not. Has never fought an eight rounder.

#20: Yohane Banda – 2(1)-1(0) – Malawi
Definitely not. Has never fought an eight rounder.

Considering the above list, the most likely opponent seems to be Iain Butcher, followed by Makazole Tete, then Athenkosi Dumezweni. An alternative is that Conlan does not defend his Commonwealth belt at all, which hopefully isn’t the case. Additionally, a fighter from flyweight could also be brought up in weight.

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