St Patrick’s Weekend Preview

As we move into St Patrick’s Weekend it is, understandably, a very busy few days for Irish fighters, with boxers in action all over the world on Friday and Saturday night, most notably on the U.S East Coast.

Starting us off however it’s Donegal light middleweight John Hutchinson [8(2)-2(0)-2]. The Buncrana Banger has been based in Thailand recently, but has made a short stop-off in Perth, Australia, and he will box at the WA Italian Club on Friday morning.

In Essex, on the inaugural MTK London show at the Brentwood Centre, there is a return to the ring for Irish light middleweight champion Pauly Upton [12(2)-0]. The eldest Upton brother has not fought since winning the belt last April, and it will be his first fight under new trainer Barry Smith.

At the York Hall in London there are not one, but two Irish fighters in action on the inaugural Matchroom NXTGEN bill which will be streamed live on Facebook, with the main three fights being aired on Sky Sports 1. Belfast lightweight Paul Hyland Jr [14(5)-0] will look to show his crowd pleasing style to the masses when he takes on former BBBoC Northern Area champion Peter Cope [14(0)-3(1)]. There is also a huge test and a huge opportunity for Dublin welter Jay Byrne [4(1)-0], who steps up to middleweight to face Matchroom starlet Felix Cash [4(3)-0].

Moving north, there is action at the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester, where former Irish international footballer turned pro middleweight Matty Mainwaring [4(0)-0] takes on Chris Jenkinson [9(3)-41(7)-3]. There is also an appearance on this bill from young Michael Gomez Jr [6(1)-0], who takes on Ignac Kassai [21(6)-53(23)-2].

Heading across the Atlantic, there are two Derry men in action in Florida. Former St Joseph’s clubmates Connor Coyle [3(1)-0] and John Cooley [1(0)-0], both now under Jim McLoughlin in the Sunshine State, will fight in four rounders at the A La Carte Event Pavilion in Tampa.

Finally then we have the big one – New York City for the much-anticipated debut of a certain Michael Conlan. The Belfast former amateur star headlines the Top Rank bill at The Theater at Madison Square Garden where he will face Colorado’s Tim Ibarra [4(1)-4(2)] in a six round super bantamweight contest. The sole Irish fighter on the undercard is Clones welter Larry Fryers [2(1)-0] who battles Gabriel Solario [2(0)-3(2)-1] over four.

Moving to Saturday the action continues as we return to the York Hall. Here Galway welterweight John O’Donnell [31(11)-2(1)] fights for the vacant BBBoC English title Kenyan-born former English light middleweight champion Erick Ochieng [16(4)-6(1)-1]. Also on the card in Bethnal Greene will be popular London-Cork welterweight Dan-Dan Keenan. The ticket-selling teen will face Croatian journeyman Silvije Kebet [2(1)-13(6)] over four.

Heading back across the Atlantic, West Virginia welterweight champion Matt Conway [7(4)-0] kicks off his 2017 with a six round bout against Isaac Johnson [2(0)-7(0)] at the Mountaineer Casino.

Returning to Madison Square Garden, this time in the big room, there is a return to the ring for former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee [34(24)-3(2)-1]. The Limerick southpaw has not fought since losing his title to Billy Joe Saunders in December 2015, but is looking to get back into contention starting with an eight round bout against KeAndrae Leatherwood [19(12)-3(2)-1].

Shipping up to Boston then there is a massive card of Irish interest at the House of Blues on the annual Murphys Boxing St Patrick’s Weekend show. Co-headlining the bill will be Cork middleweight Spike O’Sullivan [23(15)-2(1)], with the fan-favourite returning in an eight-round bout with Colombian knockout artist Ronald Montes [17(15)-5(4)]. Niall Kennedy [7(4)-0] moves into title fights on the bill, with the Wexford heavyweight taking on Jesse Barboza [11(7)-3(1)-1] for the Massachusetts State title. There is another title fight between Donegal welterweight Michael McLaughlin Owen [12(5)-1(0)-1], the reigning New England champion, and Irish-American Danny O’Connor [27(10)-3(1)] – also on the line here will be the Celtic Nations title. Athlone welter Paddy Irwin [2(2)-0] continues his development against Patrick Leal [0-2(2)], while there is an American debut for Mayo superstar Ray Moylette [1(0)-0] who takes on local light welter Matt Probin [2(0)-2(0)].

Finally at the Powerade Centre in Brampton, Ontario, Irish-Canadian super featherweight Logan McGuinness [25(12)-0-1] looks to move into world title contention. ‘Cotton’ faces Argentine Horacio Alfredo Cabral [17(8)-1(1)] for the WBC International Silver title with the hopes of securing a fight with the organisation’s champ Miguel Berchelt.

Jamie Conlan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill for Episode 3 of The Irish Boxing Show:

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: [email protected]