Leading contenders for Boxnation and MGM’s next headliner

After the success of Saturday night’s ‘New Beginning’ card at the National Stadium, it seems a safe bet to say that Boxnation and MGM Promotions will be returning to these shores. If the atmosphere created during Jamie Conlan’s win can be recreated, Matthew Macklin’s aim to run up to six shows a year in Ireland certainly seems feasible.

With this in mind, irish-boxing.com takes a look at the leading contenders to headline future Boxnation/MGM shows on the Emerald Isle.

Jamie Conlan
The undoubted star of Saturday night’s card is a shoo-in to headline further MGM shows. The gutsy super flyweight showed amazing heart in the National Stadium to defeat Junior Granados, however he feels he made many mistakes throughout his performance. The 28 year old will want to show off his boxing skills, and the improvements he has been making in Marbella, more prominently in his next outing. A Belfast homecoming in the Waterfront Hall seems like a logical next step for ‘The Mexican’ – and a perfect warm-up before a clash with Liverpool’s Paul Butler.

Stephen Ormond
The Clondalkin man impressed on Saturday with a two-round, rib-crunching, defeat of Jacek Wylezol. The 32 year old lightweight has his eye on titles and, with England taking a stranglehold of the lightweight division, an opportunity could arise in the near future. The Celtic Warriors fighter has a fan-friendly style and has said on multiple occasions that he wants to be Dublin’s next big star. Until now, Ormond has spent the majority of his career as a road-warrior and desperately wants to fight regularly in the capital. A world title eliminator, or perhaps a shot at European champion Edis Tatli, would constitute the perfect Dublin headliner.

Pajo Hyland
One of Ireland’s most skilled current boxers, Hyland is criminally under-appreciated. The Jobstown featherweight is part of an Irish boxing dynasty and is targeting titles in the near future. Managed by Lou DiBella, Hyland was slated to appear on the ‘New Beginning’ card before the untimely death of his father. A headline show, perhaps a homecoming in the National Basketball Arena, would be a great opportunity for Hyland to showcase his skills to a television audience. Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but Boxnation could even make it an All-Irish clash for Marco McCullough’s WBO European Title.

Anto Fitzgerald
One of Dublin’s most popular boxers, Anto Fitzgerald brings a small army of fans with him to each of his fights. The outspoken Northsider has mixed it with some of the best in the middleweight division, including pushing current WBO champ, Andy Lee, all the way back in 2013. Now campaigning at light middleweight, ‘The Pride of Dublin’ wants big fights soon and feels that he is a match for anyone at the lower weight. Fitzgerald called out the winner of Carson Jones and Brian Rose after his fight on Saturday and either would be a cracking match-up considering Fitzy’s ability to raise his game against big opponents.

Ryan Burnett
A future world champion, Ryan Burnett is one of the hottest prospects in Irish boxing at the minute. The Belfast bantamweight made it 10-0 as a pro on the ‘New Beginning’ card at the weekend and his manager, Adam Booth, has a good working relationship with Boxnation. A brilliant boxer with real venom in his punches, the 2010 Youth Olympic gold medalist is made for television. 23 year old Burnett is currently due to face Jason Booth in a British title eliminator and, if he is victorious, a British title shot in the Ulster Hall would be a brilliant first headline show for Belfast’s next star.

Down the Line
There are also other up-and-comers who will be hoping to headline these cards in the not too distant future. One is Dublin southpaw Declan Geraghty who has plans to move down in weight to super featherweight, and even featherweight. ‘Pretty Boy’ impressed on Saturday at the National Stadium and the MGM fighter wants to headline shows soon – perhaps an Irish title fight against one of the many talented Irishmen around his weight. New Warren signing Joe Fitzpatrick is another man who will someday top bills. The novice lightweight has his second fight on August 1st and is one for the future.

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