MTK’s emerging Irish fighters facing prolonged fight date wait?

It appears the majority of Ireland’s MTK fighters, particularly those in the early stages of their careers, may have to wait until August at the very earliest to trade leather again.

It initially appeared as if Irish boxers would benefit massively as the sport emerged from lockdown.

Jamie Conlan revealed tentative plans were in place to run an all Irish show in Belfast in July.

The likes of Padraig McCrory and Lewis Crocker were due to appear – and Irish-boxing.com believes Declan Geraghty and Joe Fitzpatrick had agreed in principle to fight in a mouthwatering lightweight clash.

Other non-MTK fighters were contacted with regard to appearing on the five-fight card. At that point, it seemed as if 10 Irish punchers were set to get ESPN+ air time during a slow period for boxing.

At least six more fighters who are further down the profile ladder may have received similar exposure in August as there was also talk of a card, again in Belfast, that would involve all-Irish fights alongside bouts for Carl Frampton and Michael Conlan.

However, MTK Vice President Conlan recently confirmed that running shows in Belfast under current BBBofC COVID-19 restrictions wasn’t feasible.

Concerns were raised surrounding shipping over the TV equipment needed to broadcast the event.

Still, Conlan confirmed #MTKFightNights would go ahead and ESPN+ would broadcast one a month behind closed doors starting with July.

Certain venues around England were mooted for those shows and Sean McComb versus Craig Evans was put forward as fight that would populate the first card.

Lewis Crocker was also said to be in line for a 50/50 fight on one of the earlier cards.

However, with MTK last night confirming Kazakhstan as the venue for the return of the #MTKFightNight, there are questions as to whether a July show in Britain with Irish fighter involvement will go ahead.

MTK will run a card in Almaty on July 18. The show will be live in the US on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank, and worldwide on IFL TV.

There are suggestions that this is the ESPN+ July obligation fulfilled and there may not be a second July MTK date.

The fact Sean McComb is back in camp and training for a fight, rumoured to be a rescheduled clash with Craig Evans, may rubbish those suggestions for some.

Although, Irish-boxing.com understands that is a fight that has been offered to Matchroom for their Fight Camp series, as has a clash between Gary Cully and a yet to be revealed foe.

Some have suggested the furore surrounding the Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury negotiations have prompted MTK to avoid shows in Britain and Ireland for now.

The management company, who look after a host of top Irish talent, have been mentioned with regard to those talks.

If there is a prolonged wait with regard to British #MTKFightNights, for whatever reason, it may open the door to some big Celtic Clash 11 bouts.

Boxing Ireland are keen to have the ultimate domestic derby show later in the year and a Belfast card could appeal to fight-hungry punchers across the promotional divides.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com