The Belfast featherweight will top a Top Rank-Queensberry bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena in his home city on Saturday June 30th, live on BoxNation and BT Sport.
A press conference for the card will take place tomorrow afternoon at the Europa Hotel where details of the undercard and, hopefully, Conlan’s opponent will be revealed.
A packed card is expected for the Summer spectacular and below Irish-Boxing.com have a look at who and what could be included on the bumper bill.
First of all, obviously, is headliner Conlan [6(5)-0]. The Olympic bronze medallist and World amateur champion is in action next week in New York on the Linares-Lomachenko undercard where he faces Spaniard Ibon Larrinaga over eight. Should he, as expected, overcome this Iberian obstacle, a big step up is expected for his first pro fight on Irish soil.
A title fight of some sort has been rumoured – most likely a rankings belt with one of the four major governing bodies. Numerous opponents have been suggested from Reece Bellotti (unlikely due to promotional situation) to fellow Irishman Eric Donovan (who fights in Dublin two weeks previous).
The double Olympic bronze medallist features on the bill, having been confirmed via the press release for the press conference. The inclusion of Barnes [5(1)-0] in the announcement has served to stoke speculation that the Cliftonville flyweight – ranked #6 by the WBO – will challenge world champion Sho Kimura [16(9)-1(1)-2].
The Japanese fighter, who dethroned Barnes’s old amateur rival Zou Shiming, currently has no defence scheduled and lacks the backing or the fanbase which has so many of his countrymen reluctant to travel abroad and certainly looks to be an attainable champion.
The Derry super bantamweight is confirmed for the bill and will fight Scotland’s Joe Ham for the vacant BBBoC Celtic title – once held by Carl Frampton – in a bout which will also double as a British title eliminator. McCullagh [10(6)-0] is now training in Liverpool under Derry Mathews.
The Lenadoon cruiser has not fought since last November and currently has no fights scheduled. ‘The Mac Attack’ has been forced to watch on frustrated as rival and Commonwealth champion Luke Watkins moves closer to a bout with Matchroom starlet Lawrence Okolie. British champion, and the only man to defeat McCarthy, Matt Askin is looking to defend his belt and has recently been making eyes at perennial Southern Area titlist Wadi Camacho – perhaps McCarthy could slide in here?
Following the Commonwealth Games in Australia, numerous new boxing have been thrust into the Belfast spotlight. However, it is one of the old guard in light welterweight Sean McComb, who is being tipped to turn pro. A debut on a card filled with other members of ‘The Belfast Boys’ would seem to fit and Turf Lodge favourite McComb has seemingly hinted so with some cryptic social media posts.
Another potential amateur convert is light heavyweight Conor Wallace. The Newry boxer recently posted a photo online of himself meeting with pro talent scout and Olympian Thomas Stalker.
The Super Featherweights
Between Jono Carroll [15(2)-0], Marco McCullough [19(11)-4(3)], Declan Geraghty [17(4)-2(1)], and Davey Oliver Joyce [7(6)-0] there has to be an all-Irish bout there somewhere. Carroll and Geraghty were due to rematch in November before Geraghty pulled out, Carroll and McCullough were due to fight last month before Carroll pulled out, and then Joyce claimed McCullough refused to face him instead. Carroll-Geraghty is perhaps the highest profile but any combination is possible.
Top Rank Talent
As Frank Warren will be co-promoting the event with Top Rank, expect a handful of Bob Arum’s boys to feature on the bill – hopefully in fights versus Irish boxers. Vladimir Nikitin, who defeated Conlan controversially in the Olympics and was recently signed by Top Rank, may appear as he builds towards a rematch next year – although this may be all a bit too pantomime.
Naas lightweight Gary Cully [4(2)-0] has essentially confirmed on social media that he will feature on the bill and a step-up to six rounds is due.
Another to basically confirm that they will feature is Clondalkin lightweight Stephen Ormond [24(13)-5(3)] in what he describes as a big fight. 34-year-old Ormond, particularly, could be up against a Top Rank boxer – maybe even Felix Verdejo who is looking to rebound from a first career loss.
Padraig McCrory [3(2)-0] is set for a return to the ring and the ticket-selling St James’s super middle looks to be a no-brainer for this bill.
A number of Conlan’s stablemates could also appear. These include Sonny Upton, Alfredo Meli, Pauly Upton, Taylor McGoldrick, Steven Ward, Phil Sutcliffe, Sean Turner – who has stated his has big fight news incoming – and more
Mick’s older brother Jamie [19(11)-1(1)] is looking to return to the ring following his world title loss last year. While a baton-passing appearance on his brother’s undercard – much like how he stepped aside in the 2009 Ulster Seniors – would be a lovely moment, the extremely close pair aren’t majorly keen on sharing a bill with all the emotional stress that would entail. Expect the elder Conlan to perhaps feature on the Carl Frampton undercard on August 18th at Windsor Park.
One we hope we are wrong about is Lewis Crocker [5(5)-0]. The hammer-fisted welter is being moved quite gradually by Warren and it can be easily envisioned that he will feature on just the Frampton bill this Summer. However, it would be great to see Crocker appear on both big Belfast cards as he looks to build his record and get some time in the ring.