Show must go on – Ring Kings II rescheduled not cancelled

Ireland would have had it’s first show outside of Belfast in over a year tonight, but for the pandemic.

Irish fight fans would now be en-route to Waterford for the second time in three years, ready to take in what promised to be an entertaining and certainly atmospheric card.

The current pandemic prevented Ring Kings II from playing tonight, but Irish-boxing.com have been assured, that a show, that has now upgraded from very important to nigh on essential in terms of boxing outside of Belfast, will still go ahead in 2020.

Promoter Neil Power and his team still have plans to put on the first fight night outside of Belfast since February of 2019.

Once crowds of over 1500 can gather again, which according to the COVID 19 road map set out by the government is mid August, plans to run Ring Kings II will begin to snowball.

“As soon as guidelines indicate that a crowd of 1500 can attend an event then we would look to go then,” Power told Irish-boxing.com.

“I suppose I would be ignorant to say a date at this time but I’m hopeful for September/October time.”

Behind closed doors has been discussed as an option by promoters across the world and it’s a route the likes of Matchroom and Top Rank are going to take this summer.

That pathway is not open for the smaller hall promoter. Although the original Ring Kings was above small hall level it’s still a show very much reliant on ticket sales, thus behind closed doors is a no go.

“Unfortunately were not backed by a TV station and don’t have the resources needed to not rely hugely on ticket sales. We would strictly follow whatever the suggested guidelines to keep everyone safe and comfortable attending the event [but behind closed doors isn’t an option].”

Tonight would have seen an Irish title fight between local favourite Craig McCarthy and Ricky Hatton trained Chris Blaney top the bill.

Rohan Date was eyeing up a title fight and Rhys Moran, Graham McCormack, Dominic Donegan and Irish champion Craig O’Brien were set to appear.

No doubt McCarthy will top the rescheduled show and most likely against ‘Ginja Ninja’ Blaney, but Ring Kings should have scope to put on the ultimate domestic card.

Fighters will be desperate to get out and will be begging to appear, that aligned with current restrictions could see any number of 50-50 fights been made.

Speaking after that was put to him Power said: “I wouldn’t like to say that we would have the pick of Irish, but our remit is simple and that’s wanting to put the best fights possible, whilst working with honest straightforward people.

“I believe they will be more opportunities to make 50/50 fights and anyone who’s had 3 fights in the bank against journeymen and looking to make a bit of noise should be looking for them fights. The scene can’t sustain padding records to 9/10 fights unless your with a major promoter.”

Returning to discussing TV, Power revealed there is interest, but cost is a major issue.

“I talked to TV before this got real bad. They explained to me that their schedulers would love to do the show, the problems arrive though once again from budgets aspects like costings of an outdoor broadcasting unit.

“The TV company explained their budgets are don’t in September for the following year and there very minuscule wiggle room. Ideally you would offset this costing with sponsorship but pro boxing is sadly not easy to get sponsorship for in Ireland.”

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