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Who will be on the big Belfast BT bill?

Tickets go on sale this Wednesday for the big BT Sport bill in Belfast next month.

Jamie Conlan challenges IBF super flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday November 18th, with featherweight Carl Frampton making his homecoming.

Also featuring on the bill, Paddy Barnes defends his WBO European flyweight title while South African Zolani Tete defends his WBO World bantamweight title.

The extended undercard is rumoured to be a groundbreaking one, with competitive fights throughout, and some big domestic duels are expected to be announced in the coming days.

Irish-Boxing.com takes a look below at some of the fights which could fit the bill for the ‘Frampton Reborn’ bill

Jono Carroll v Deco Geraghty
A rematch between the two super featherweight southpaws has been heavily rumoured in recent weeks and all signs seem to point to the pair renewing acquaintances on this bill. Both fight this weekend in warm-up bouts and have promised big domestic news soon.

Their first meeting took place back in November 2014 in a post-main event four rounder at the 3Arena in Dublin. An all-out war which was named Irish Fight of the Year, Geraghty was disqualified in the third. Both have pushed on since then, with Geraghty [15(4)-2(1)] claiming a career-best win in July over Michael Roberts, and Carroll [14(1)-0] grabbing Prizefighter glory and defeating Liverpool starlet Johnny Quigley in June.

Carroll claimed the IBF East/West Europe rankings title last time out, and a defence/upgrade of this belt could vault the winner into the Top 15 with an organisation whose title situation is wide open. Additionally, it would be great to see the Irish title, which Geraghty lost out to James Tennyson for in February, also put on the line.

Alfredo Meli v Conrad Cummings
One of the best fights of 2015, the Ulster pair fought to a draw in the headline fight of a Waterfront Hall card for the BBBoC Celtic middleweight title. Meli [13(3)-0-1] has since signed to MTK, and fights this Friday in a ticking-over job. Cummings rebounded from this draw, and a controversial loss to Ronny Mittag, to decisively claim the WBO European title.

Tyrone’s Cummings announced his departure from Cyclone Promotions last week, and a link-up with MTK seems a likely path – increasing the likelihood of an oft-called for Meli repeat.

Whether Cummings [11(4)-1(0)-1], who has not fought since March due to the cancellation of Frampton’s initial July homecoming, would want a warm up first remains to be seen. However, the fight would be perfect for the bill in just under seven weeks time.

Paddy Gallagher British title
The Belfast welter defends his BBBoC Celtic title this Friday in Scotland against Gary Murray, however he has hinted at a quick turnaround into a British title shot should he get the win.

Champion Bradley Skeete has won the belt outright and is expected to vacate soon leaving Gallagher [11(7)-3(0)] as one of the leading contenders for a vacant title shot. Galway’s John O’Donnell and Gallagher-defeator Tamuka Mucha.also fight in an eliminator, but this October 20th date would not fit the Lenadoon boxer’s schedule.

With this in mind, Londoner Johnny Garton [20(7)-1(1)-1] looks to be the man best placed to fight for the Lonsdale belt – should Gallagher get the job done this Saturday.

Ciaran McVarnock v Joe Murray
The New Lodge featherweight has a deep dislike of former stablemate Murray and has been calling out the Manchester lightweight and Beijing Olympian over the past few weeks.

Manchester-based McVarnock [8(2)-0-1] is eager to fight at home more, and suggested this fight for the Belfast BT bill recently – promising to sell lots of tickets and dominate Murray, who he has sparred with regularly.

The pair used to be friendly, but the relationship has soured over the years – and this has been heightened by a controversial win for Murray [22(9)-2(1)] over McVarnock’s stablemate Matty Fagan last month.

Pauly Upton v Craig O’Brien
Irish light middleweight champion Upton [14(3)-0] is currently awaiting a fight date, and a first defence of the title he won last year could work perfectly.

Dubliner O’Brien [5(0)-0] boxes for the BUI Celtic title this weekend on the Red Corner bill at the National Stadium and a win over Alain Alfred would put him in line for a shot at Upton. It would be a short turnaround no doubt, but promoter Red Corner would be willing to take the fight.

Marco McCullough v John Joe Nevin
A bit of an unlikely dream fight on our part. MTK’s McCullough [17(10)-4(3)] is returning from a British featherweight title loss and doesn’t want to be doing a lengthy rebuild. The supremely talented Nevin [8(4)-0] on the other hand is now back on this side of the Atlantic and keen to jump-start his career after a frustrating four years.

What could be described as a crossroads clash between two recognisable names, it would be considered a risky fight for both, but one which definitely make people sit up and take notice.

Sean Turner v Kamil Sokolowski
‘Big Sexy’ may be making his way down toward cruiser, but he has unfinished business against Sokolowski [4(1)-10(2)-2]. The Pole narrowly beat Turner [11(7)-1(0)] in April over eight rounds and the Dubliner has been keen for a rematch ever since. The fight had been made for the Ginley Promotions bill last month but fell through, and is one Turner feels he needs to get past before he can move to the next stage of his career.

Gary Cully v Aiden Metcalfe
The ongoing verbals between the pair intensified last week, with Metcalfe [1(0)-0] taking issue with MTK’s Cully describing him as “easy work.” Cully [1(1)-0] features on the big Sky show in three weeks time and such a match-up may prove too soon for here – however a few weeks later at the same venue on the BT platform may be an acceptable timeframe for all parties involved. A fight with some genuine needle, it could provide something of risk free gamble for both, much like Geraghty and Carroll three years ago in Dublin

Tyrone McCullagh
The Derry featherweight headlined the Ginley Promotions ‘Danger at The Devenish’ bill last month, but saw numerous good-quality opponents fall through and eventually ended up facing Craig Derbyshire – who disqualified himself in the second round. An awkward fighter that is being found tough to match, perhaps it is time to skip McCullagh [8(4)-0] ahead a few levels – maybe against someone like Commonwealth champion Ashley Lane [11(1)-8(4)-2].

Steven Ward
The Newtownabbey light heavyweight needs to be stepped up. Another unfortunate with opponent pull-outs for the Ginley Promotions show last month, Ward [5(2)-0] needs a more testing opponent. Ineligible for the Irish title at the moment and with a lack of opponents around for Celtic or Northern Irish title shot, perhaps someone like Carl Wild (who he was due to face last month) or Nathan King could provide a next step for ‘The Quiet Man.’

Lewis Crocker
A fighter that generates massive interest, the South Belfast 20 year old seems likely to feature on the bill. Still just a 3(3)-0 prospect and yet to go past two rounds, a tough 50-50 can’t be expected here. However, a test against the likes of ultra-durable Belfast journeyman Jamesy Gorman [8(3)-45(1)] could be great for his development and provide much needed rounds.

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