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Matchroom to build Belfast around ‘Special’ Lewis Crocker

‘Special’ Lewis Crocker will be front and centre of a big Matchroom Belfast push promises Frank Smith.

The Matchroom CEO was impressed with how Crocker performed under the spotlight, stopping Jose Felix Jr in style at the Ulster Hall on Saturday night.

Eddie Hearn’s right-hand man claims it was exactly the kind of display and finish the 27-year-old welterweight needed to cement his status as Belfast bill topper.

Smith now points out Matchroom will use the Billy Nelson-trained puncher as an excuse to return to the fight capital of Europe on a regular basis and will build a local stable under the Holy Trinity graduate.

“That’s what Crocker does,” he said.

“That highlight reel knockout is exactly what he needed, that can really build him into something special. It was a tremendous finish from him and there are some big nights to come.”

Saturday’s card was only the second time the Matchroom juggernaut came to Belfast since they promoted Ryan Burnett‘s world title unification fight against Zhanat Zhakiyanov in 2017.

Smith claims Matchroom always wanted the City as one of their fight territories but with Micheal Conlan unavailable to them felt they hadn’t a name to front an Antrim assault.

There are numerous fighters raising their hands to be a leading man at present with Padraig McCrory boasting a huge following, Caoimhin Agyarko building toward world level, Anthony Cacace if not signed to Queensberry may have been an option among others.

However, it’s Crocker, Smith says the promotional powerhouse will put at the forefront of regular shows in the city.

Belfast, UK: Crocker v Felix Fight Night 27 January 2024 Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing Matchroom’s Frank Smith (left) with Mick Conlan (right) and his brother Jamie.

“We always wanted to come back to Belfast, but Michael [Conlan] was signed with Top Rank and doing shows with Queensberry, so we hadn’t got the opportunity, so weren’t able to. I think now with Lewis we have the opportunity to build big nights here and also sign young up-and-coming fighters. Without the headline talent, it’s hard to do it but with Lewis we are going to make a big push now and Belfast is somewhere we will be coming back to very often.”

Smith didn’t confirm whether Crocker was officially signed to Matchroom but did confirm they is a working relationship in place.

One fighter officially signed to the Eddie Hearn-fronted promotional company is Paddy Donovan. Speaking on the Limerick man’s win on the same card Smith said: “Paddy had a tough fight in there. He showed he has heart tonight. It was a good performance and a good win from him. I think the stoppage maybe was a bit premature but it was a good win for him.”


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