Carl Frampton tops the bill in an interim WBO featherweight title fight with Nonito Donaire. A packed undercard sees three major all-Irish fights – Conrad Cummings v Luke Keeler, Jono Carroll v Marco McCullough, Tyrone McKenna v Anto Upton – as well as a WBO bantamweight title defence from Zolani Tete v Omar Narvaez.
A further 4 Irish fighters – Tyrone McCullagh, Steven Ward, Davey Oliver Joyce, Lewis Crocker – feature on the early undercard and opponents for two of them have been confirmed.
In just over three weeks time McCullagh [9(5)-0] will box Elvis Guillen and Ward [6(2)-0] will fight Michael Ciach.
Nicaraguan Guillen [9(6)-36(8)-4] is a game and gutsy foe, managing to make it through some ferocious bodyshots from Belfast’s Sean Magee when they met last month at The Devenish. The Barcelona-based boxer is a gritty opponent and has been stopped just once in his last 14 – falling in the first round to Zelfa Barrett
Derry super bantam McCullagh made a step up in December with a dominant win over Tom Tran and Central American Guillen is a solid six-round keep-busy opponent ahead of a BBBoC Celtic title fight with Joe Ham this Summer. There will be an element of comparison too with the Glaswegian who went four rounds with the same opponent in October 2016
While there is an apparent logic to the above matchmaking, the selection of Ciach [1(1)-4(1)] for Newtownabbey light heavy Ward is quite underwhelming at present. The Eastern European has proven a solid opponent for novice Irish super middleweights Craig McCarthy and Taylor McGoldrick but is a level below a more established and bigger pro like Ward who will turn 28 during fight week.
The Commonwealth silver medalist last fought on the previous Frampton bill in October, where he scored a solid win over the game Przemyslaw Binienda, and has been in camp with ‘The Jackal’ the past two months, doing warm-weather altitude training in Tenerife and living in Manchester away from his family – a level of commitment deserving of a greater test than Ciach.
Of course, there could be behind-the-scenes plans for Ward, perhaps a big fight early in the Summer for which Ciach is a warm-up but, at present, it looks to be a disappointing match especially for what will be his fourth six-rounder.
The upcoming card also features English talents Ryan Hatton, Troy Williamson, Sam Maxwell, and Alx Dickinson. Hatton has been matched with Hungarian journeyman Attila Tibor Nagy [10(7)-30(9)-1] while the remainder await opponents.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)