Mick Conlan’s second shot at glory comes tonight.
The Belfast featherweight challenges IBF titleholder Luis Alberto Lopez at a sold-out SSE Arena, looking to become Ireland’s latest world champion.
Following a swift and successful rebuild in the wake of the Leigh Wood heartbreak, Conlan finds himself in a 50:50 fight with the man that dethroned Josh Warrington.
The former World Amateur Champion tops a bill that also includes Anto Cacace, Padraig McCrory, Pierce O’Leary, Conor Quinn, Kurt Walker, Fearghus Quinn, Willo Hayden, and debutant Jamesy Freeman and Irish-Boxing.com are ringside to provide, internet allowing, live updates on all the fights.
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12:25pm: Fight 11 – Jamesy Freeman closes the show on his debut. Journeyman Jordan Grannum maybe sniffed an opportunity in the opening round but Armagh’s Freeman pushed back hard in the proceeding three to claim a 39-37 win and start his career off the best possible way (aside from being an after-midnight float!).
12:03pm: Fight 10 – Fearghus Quinn was given a great run-out by tough Colombian Ruben Angulo. The South American had pushed Daniel O’Sullivan just last month and did similar here, standing forehead-to-forehead with Quinn and trading shots. The Armagh man had the upper hand throughout most of the high-paced contest – although did eat a big left hook in the second. Angulo went down in the third claiming a low blow and forcing a delay to an already late night. Increasing the intensity throughout, Quinn had Angulo rattled badly in the sixth and final round but it went the distance where the Irishman was declared a 60-54 winner and improves to 6-0 (2 KOs),
11:29pm: Fight 9 – Tasked with giving the Belfast faithful something to cheer about, Padraig McCrory was too big for Diego Ramirez in their ten rounder. The Argentine was crafty and did not allow McCrory to land power shots in a scrappy, sleepy affair as the arena tried to process what had happened in the proceeding bout. The final scorecard read 99-91 in favour of ‘The Hammer’ McCrory who moves to 17(9)-0 as he searches for another big fight.
Fight 8 – Mick Conlan has been defeated in the main event, stopped in the fifth round by the brutishly strong Luis Alberto Lopez.
9:23pm: Sweet Caroline booming, we’re almost ready to go here.
9:20pm: Ludumo Lamati collapsed in the ring following the conclusion of that bout. He has received immediate attention and been stretchered from the ring. Thoughts with the brave South African.
9:16pm: Fight 7 – Nick Ball didn’t have it all his own way versus Ludumo Lamati but was able to brawl his way on top and the towel came in from the South African’s corner in the final round. Main Event next!
8:10pm: Nick Ball up next. The Liverpool featherweight takes on South African Ludumo Lamati.
8:05pm: Will we have a float next or is it Nick Ball? Who knows?
8:03pm: Fight 6 – Fighting at home for the first time in eight years, Anto Cacace returned as a star, taking the acclaim of the crowd and retaining his IBO super featherweight title. The Apache was ‘up’ for his homecoming from the very start, tagging Wrzesinski with piercing right hands throughout the opening round. Having looked to set up counter shots after this as his opponent pushed forward, Cacace upped the pace in the fourth and forced Wrzesinski, who was already running out of ideas, back. The Irishman couldn’t miss with the right hand but the visitor was a tough man and attempted to fire back in the sixth. Despite this, the Pole was becoming increasingly bloodied and ragged as Cacace continually picked him off with sharp shots. The pace dropped and things became scrappier in the second half of this fight but Cacace remained in control, landing the majority of shots of note as Wrzesinski desperately pressed. Going to the cards, the Andersonstown man was confirmed the winner on cards of 118-111, 117-111, and 116-112 as he moves to 21(7)-0.
7:05pm: And it will be Anto Cacace v Damian Wrzesinski coming up next, a little bit earlier than advertised. Defence of the IBO super featherweight title for The Apache.
6:55pm: Next up on the running order is Anto Cacace although there could be an appearance from floater Fearghus Quinn beforehand. More to come when we know.
6:51pm: Fight 5 – BIG BANG. Pierce O’Leary had Alin Florin Ciorceri down inside the opening minute with a huge left hook and, while the Romanian rose, he was on unsteady legs and the bout was waved off following the Dubliner’s follow-up attack. KO1 Pierce O’Leary who improves to 12(7)-0! Another highlight-reel finish for the Sherriff Street starlet.
6:10pm: Bit of a break now before the TV broadcast starts at 6:30pm. First up on the BT schedule is Pierce O’Leary versus Alin Florin Ciorceri.
6:06pm: Fight 4 – Looking sharp, Kurt Walker dominated Venezuelan Maicol Velazco. After hurting the South American to the body in the second, Walker stepped things up in the third and had Velazco reeling. Holding on, the visitor was on unsteady legs in the fourth as Walker poured on the pressure, seemingly unable to miss, but he just didn’t have the power to put Velazco away. This pattern continued into the fifth before Walker rounded the fight out on his toes in the sixth to claim a 60-54 win and move to 7-0 (1 KO).
5:34pm: Fight 3 – Moving up to eight rounds and taking on a tough opponent in Juan Hinostroza, Conor Quinn came through a test to underline his credentials as a talent in the super flyweight division. It was a sharp start from Quinn but the former EU Champion managed to engage him in the second. Quinn is the bigger and cleaner boxer but the squat Peruvian was getting inside and landing his own shots. Cornering Quinn in the third, Hinostroza unloaded a barrage but the young Belfast boxer shelled up well and fired back in this perfect learning experience. Attempting to time the left hook off the ropes, Quinn was being mauled hard by Hinostroza who enjoyed a strong finish to the fourth. This charge continued into the fifth but Quinn landed a left hook that shook Hinostroza to his boots to put things up for debate. An excellent match-up, the pair traded throughout the sixth, Quinn wearing some heavy bodyshots and continuing to keep the pace with the tireless visitor. Enjoying what looked to be a second wind in the seventh, the first time Quinn had been this far, sharp shots saw him establish a much-needed beachhead but things would descend back into war in the final stanza as the pair threw down. Going to the cards with a little bit of uncertainty following a furious 24 minutes, Quinn was confirmed the winner on a whitewash 80-72 scorecard and improves to 6-0-1 (4 KOs) ahead of his assault on domestic titles,.
4:54pm: Fight 2 – Fighting for the first time in Ireland, Willo Hayden had far too much for Jordan Ellison. The Sunderland journeyman is known for being tricky and has caused his fair share of upsets but was put on the back foot by Hayden from the off. Hayden looked to up the pace in the second, pushing Ellison back but the English opponent was timing some nice counters. Ellison’s confidence grew in the third as he buzzed Hayden with a big counter and the Dublin youngster responded by trading toe-to-toe. Emboldened, Ellison pushed forward in the fourth and fifth as the fight developed into something far more competitive than expected – although Hayden’s activity was likely winning him the rounds. Maybe feeling he was in with a sniff, Ellison came out firing in the final round as the pair traded throughout, ensuring it would be an undercard highlight. Going to the cards, Eamonn Magill scored the bout 59-55 in Hayden’s favour and the Crumlin starlet improves his fledgling pro record to 6-0 (1 KO).
4:25pm: Fight 1 – Scouser Callum Thompson has just outpointed Marius Istrate 40-36 to start the night off. Willo Hayden’s Irish debut up next. The Dublin lightweight takes on Jordan Ellison.