The Homecoming fight night, however, is just the first of two major cards in Belfast this Summer – not to mention a potential Ryan Burnett card in the Autumn regardless of whether or not he remains in the World Boxing Super Series.
On August 18th, Carl Frampton defends his WBO interim featherweight belt against Luke Jackson at Windsor Park in a massive Frank Warren-BT Sport event that promises to be another big night of fights in Belfast.
Here, Irish-Boxing.com take a look at ho may be on the undercard.
Two fighters are already confirmed – former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury [26(19)-0] who will face a to-be-confirmed foe, and Paddy Barnes [5(1)-0] who fights WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales [27(18)-3(0)].
With two big names already announced, and a trio of Irish fighters from the MTK Global management stable which is closely alligned with Frank Warren confirmed for a show in Scotland the following weekend, a spate of big announcements is not expected.
That said, with the reaction to Jackson’s announcement as the opponent being lukewarm, a bumper undercard could be in store.
As always, a clearer picture can be garnered when one looks at who won’t be on the show and this list is long.
Going through the MTK Global stable, Davey Oliver Joyce, Stephen Ormond, and Darragh Foley all were announced today for big fights in Glasgow on Friday August 24th.
The big fighters on the Conlan card last weekend – Tyrone McCullagh, Declan Geraghty, Jono Carroll, and Tyrone McKenna – can also be ruled out.
All this leaves us with a worrying lack of available Irish fighters at the right career-stage for Windsor.
One for definite is Ballyfermot middleweight Luke Keeler [14(5)-2(1)-1] who impressed so much in April on the last Frampton bill when he won the WBO European title against Conrad Cummings.
Now ranked #13 with the WBO, his team may look to consolidate this ranking against another fighter from the Top 15 such as either of the fighters below him – Mexican Elias Espadas [17(12)-3(0)] or German Ibrahim Guemues [15(14)-0]. Another option is a known British name, but a lot of the fighters at the top domestically look to be tied up – with the Warren-promoted brawler Joe Mullender [11(5)-2(0)] being the only real option.
Lenadoon cruiser Tommy McCarthy [11(6)-1(0)] has just completed a sparring camp with top Kazakh Beibut Shumenov and is primed for a return to the ring. Having not fought since November it could be a rust-shaker next but a domestic dust-up with the likes of Welshman Craig Kennedy [17(8)-1(1)] or even young stablemate Jack Massey [14(7)-0] could appeal.
Now up at super featherweight, Shankill’s Marco McCullough [19(11)-4(3)] is ready for another big fight. An all-Belfast battle with Andersonstown’s Anto Cacace [16(7)-1(0)] could be perfect – especially if European champ James Tennyson vacates the Commonwealth belt to allow the clash between his fellow Belfast men be for a title.
Another with potential for a big fight is Frampton stablemate Steven Ward [7(3)-0]. The Newtownabbey light heavy is overly due a step up but, in fairness, there looks to be few available options for a BBBoC Northern Ireland or BBBoC Celtic title fight – perhaps the Dublin-based Scot John McCallum [11(0)-1(1)]? If not, maybe a step up to eight rounds against a game European opponent and some TV time.
With MTK’s tendancy to match their own fighters against each other, there are a number of Irish boxers on the comeback trail. Tyrone middleweight Conrad Cummings [13(6)-2(0)-1] seems a sure thing to feature on the bill, currently being in camp with Frampton in Manchester.
Roscommon’s Darren Cruise [8(2)-6(0)] has called for a fight with the Coalisland boxer and Cummings has responded positively – however, whether his team will view this as too much of a risk remains to be seen.
West Belfast’s Anto Upton [17(6)-2(0)] also lost on the Frampton bill last time out, being outpointed by Tyrone McKenna, and is now aiming for a comeback at lightweight. His older brother, light middleweight, Sonny [12(5)-3(1)] is another who is due a return having been kept out of the ring since his English title loss to Matt Ryan in March 2017.
Two professional debuts of former top amateurs look set to take place on the card. Turf Lodge lightweight Sean McComb was due to debut at the weekend but licencing issues prevented this. Assuming these are sorted by next month, McComb will debut at Windsor.
Ballymena light middleweight Steven Donnelly is another that will surely be on the card having had his move to the pros officially confirmed last week.
There are a number of Irish fighters that fit the bill, so to speak, for the four and six round bouts in the early evening before the TV cameras start rolling. Sandy Row welter Lewis Crocker [6(6)-0] needs to be kept busy in light of how his fights invariably last only a matter of minutes.
Crocker’s gym-mate, St James’ super middleweight Padraig McCrory [4(2)-0], can shift a good edge of tickets and is especially keen to be kept busy.
Naas lightweight Gary Cully [5(2)-0] is another one of the top Irish prospects but is keen for a big step up which might require a bit longer of a lead-in play. If it is not a big step up next, get him on the August 18th card
The past two Frank Warren-promoted cards each have featured four non-Irish fighters and it is expected that a few will be added to this bill as well.