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Who will be on the next Belfast BoxNation card?

Last night it was announced that the BoxNation cameras will be returning to Belfast in the Summer for another show at the Waterfront Hall, this time on Saturday June 17th.

Last month saw the city centre venue play host to an exciting fight night, with two big all-Irish clashes and a trademark Jamie Conlan war.

Read our full review of the show here.

The ‘Belfast Boys Are Back’ card was a step up, fight-wise, from the ‘Homecoming’ show in November, and it is assumed that Queensberry Promotions will want this, currently untitled, show to be better again.

So far three Irish fighters have been announced for the bill:
Paddy Barnes will fight for the WBO European title.
Stephen Ormond will challenge for Craig Evans’s WBO title.
Jamie Conlan will feature.

Below Irish-Boxing.com, with a sprinkle of suggestion, run through what the card may look like.

– The impression being given is that Paddy Barnes [2(0)-0] will top the bill in a challenge for the WBO rankings title in just his third fight.

Refreshingly, Barnes is not bothered by the belt on the line, noting how it is a mere function to bring him closer to a world title fight with the organisation – a belt currently held by former amateur rival Zhou Shiming.

It is most definitely opponent rather than title which is important here, and it is hoped that Barnes will be given the first real test of his pro career.

As we have seen with fights such as Stephen Ormond v Adam Mate and Ryan Burnett v Robert Kanalas, the WBO European being on the line does not necessarily guarantee a quality opponent.

English boxer Louis Norman has expressed his desire for the fight, while other solid potential opponents include Kevin Satchell, Luke Wilton, Silvio Olteanu, Angel Moreno, Jamie Williams, and Jay Harris.

Major Undercard Fights (Confirmed)
– Ormond v Evans has all the ingredients for an action fight and it also provides the Dubliner with the opportunity to reclaim the WBO European belt and world ranking which he previously held.

This WBO belt could prove crucial with current champ, and former Ormond [24(13)-3(1)] opponent, Terry Flanagan whispered to be set to move up to light welterweight in the near to medium-term future. A win over the #9-ranked Evans [16(3)-1(0)-2], plus perhaps a subsequent defence, could position Ormond well for a vacant title shot.

Jamie Conlan [19(11)-0] will fight on the card, however it is not known whether ‘The Mexican’ will defend his Commonwealth title, his WBC International Silver, both, or neither.

It is assumed that, with a World title eliminator pending, Queensberry and MTK will not want to expose Conlan to another fire-fight like the Yader Cardoza cracker last month. With no other Commonwealth boxer in the WBC Top 40, a defence of both belts is seemingly out of the question, so it looks to be one or the other – preferably the Commonwealth title, perhaps against previously mooted opponent Julias Kisarawe of Tanzania.

Major Undercard Fights (Unconfirmed)
– An Irish heavyweight title fight between Sean Turner [10(7)-0] and Con Sheehan [5(1)-0] seems a certainty for the show – providing that ‘Big Sexy’ comes through his fight with Kamil Sokolowski in Birmingham tomorrow night.

The MTK stablemates have long been on a collision course and, hopefully, will come to blows this Summer in a high-quality clash of styles between two young bulls.

– Also possible is another battle of the big men, an Irish cruiserweight title fight between former champ Ian Tims [13(4)-3(2)] and Swindon-Wexford hard man Luke Watkins [10(6)-0].

Like above, the bout has been mooted for a long time and represents something of a crossroads clash, with Tims looking to secure a few more big fights as his career winds down while Watkins is looking to be catapulted right into the domestic mix.

– Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna [13(5)-0-1] has become a real star of Irish boxing in recent months with back-to-back BUI Celtic title wins over Sean Creagh and Jake Hanney. Will ‘The Mighty Celt’ be given the chance to go for three-in-a-row and perhaps fight for the Irish light welterweight title?

Potential opponents include perhaps his MTK stablemate Anto Upton [14(5)-1(0)], or maybe even Aussie-based Dubliner Darragh Foley [11(8)-2(0)] who recently saw negotiations with Czar Amonsot break down.

– Also expected to feature on the bill is a debut for Rio Olympian David Oliver Joyce. The triple EU gold medalist has turned pro with MTK and will be trained by Pete Taylor

Other Undercard Fights (Unconfirmed)
– Young welterweight sensation Lewis Crocker [1(1)-0] will surely feature, hopefully as part of the televised broadcast this time. If Queensberry again go with local journeymen, which would be great, there are plenty of durable opponents in the Alio Wilton stable – Alec Bazza, Jamesy Gorman, and Casey Blair – who could bring the power-punching Belfast fighter rounds.

– Newtownabbey light heavy Steven Ward [3(0)-0] is another near certainty, and the Oliver Harrison-trained fighter may move up to six-round bouts on the bill.

– New MTK signing Paddy Gallagher [10(6)-3(0)] could make his MTK debut on the bill. It’s unlikely however that he would defend his BBBoC Celtic welterweight title due to being out of the ring since November.

– Hopefully Declan Geraghty [14(4)-2(1)] will begin his comeback on the card. The Dublin super feather was one half of one of the most entertaining, well-matched, and high-quality Irish title fights of recent memory on the last BoxNation Belfast card, being stopped in the sixth by James Tennyson.

– Derry super bantam Tyrone McCullagh [6(4)-0] is title-hungry and it would be good to see him make his television debut here.

Jono Carroll [14(1)-0] has not fought since December due to the birth of his first child and his subsequent relocation to Spain, and could be in line for a return to the ring in a rust-shaker to set up a big fight.

– The sheer amount of Irish fighters on the books with Queensberry and/or MTK means that it is impossible for them all to feature on June 17th, and the likes of the Upton Brothers, Galway cruiser Gary Sweeney [3(3)-0], Belfast feather Ciaran McVarnock [7(1)-0-1], Galway welter Peter McDonagh [27(3)-28(2)-1], and Warren-promoted Belfast lightweight Joe Fitzpatrick [7(4)-0] will all be hoping for calls in the coming days.

Alfredo Meli [13(3)-0-1], who got married today, and Marco McCullough [17(10)-3(2)], James Tennyson [18(14)-2(2)], and Phil Sutcliffe [13(8)-1(0)], who all have fights next month, are not expected to feature.

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: joneill6@tcd.ie