With the rise of female boxing in the UK and Ireland let me start by giving some attention to the super bantamweight clash in Buenos Aires, Argentina between Marcela Eliana Acuna and the Australian, Shannon O’Connell for the IBF female title. These are names as unfamiliar to me as they shall be to you so no predictions but this IS a world title fight between two classy performers in the ring by all accounts. If it goes by experience and no losses, Acuna should though retain the title.
It is the battles of Belfast as this week, Matchroom give us a super bill, live on Sky with some great undercard action that should spur things on to an evening of great boxing once again. Next weekend Queensberry Promotions under Frank Warren are in town with their own version of a Belfast battle with no fewer than 3 European titles. But onto this weekend…
We begin with a welterweight fight between our very own Craig Kelly and Paddy Gallagher. Kelly is a guy we love and having lost out on being at Paisley last weekend with Lock, Stock Promotions, this is a great payday for the amiable Scot. It was clear at the weigh in that both boxers had a great deal of respect for each other which was very nice to see. It is not, of course, a headline fight and I am gutted it will not make the TV but this should be a non-stop war; underestimate Kelly at your own peril…
We then have an Irish cruiserweight title fight between Ian Tims and Luke Watkins with Tims, the home lad hoping to win. The bizarre IBF East/West lightweight title battle between Paul Hyland Jr and Adam Dingsdale will again be expected to go to the home fighter but given the number of shocks over the recent past you cannot imagine that Watkins or Dingsdale feel they are there, just to make up the numbers.
We also have the super featherweight fight between James Tennyson and late replacement for Ben Jones, Ryan Doyle. Tennyson would now be thought of as a firm favourite.
Finally, the top of the bill is Lee Haskins against Ryan Burnett for the IBF bantamweight belt. This has taken off over the last few weeks with harsh words and much comment. Haskins is a man defending his belt with pride but it would not be a shock to see Burnett take it. I fancy Burnett because in his corner is one man who knows all about training champions – Adam Booth. Booth did not take this fight on thinking it was a way of getting his man noticed. He took this on because he truly believes that Burnett, who is phenomenal, allegedly, in the gym, can win. Burnett though does need to turn up in ways he has not managed before, if this is world title is to be grasped and the buzz is that we all expect him to do that. No matter what, this could be epic.
Also, this evening and in Paisley On the Ropes Promotions gives us lightweight action between James McGinnis and Paul Peers on his debut, cruiserweights Paddy Reilly and Stuart Maddox, then Ben McGivern v Malcolm Richardson on his debut, super middleweights Adam Stewart v Billy Edgar and Gary Wilson v James Calverley, also on his debut and finally super lightweight Barrie McRory makes his debut against Thomas Murry. This is a British and Irish Boxing Association night that shall not be found on Boxrec – why I fail to understand. Last weekend BIBA were in Aberdeen with Lee McAllister as he became a three-weight world champion. Now I get that the WBF title might not be the one that fighters are clamouring over each other to get to but McAllister still had to beat whoever was in front of him. To ignore what is going on around you condemns you to repeat mistakes and make even bigger ones – a metaphor for politics this past week perhaps…
As for predictions over the fighters in Paisley I reckon a decent night’s boxing will be had and debuts should be successful. I am not going to pretend that I know each of the boxers well but this should be a very tasty evening which is relatively well matched.
Also, tonight in York Hall there are 15 fights including a super welterweight clash between Charlie Beardon and Dan Blackwell, whilst in Leigh there are 8 fights and in Stoke on Trent no fewer than 7.
Later on in the week on Friday the 16th June and in Manchester there are 2 scheduled fights.
Saturday the 17th June
Las Vegas – Andre Ward v Sergey Kovalev for the WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight titles; super bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux v Moises Flores for the WBA belt.
Belfast – super lightweight Tyrone McKenna; super flyweight Jamie Conlan; flyweight action between Paddy Barnes and Silvio Olteanu for the WBO European title; lightweight Craig Evans fights Stephen Ormond for the WBO European belt; and super featherweight Jono Carroll tops the bill against John Quigley for the IBF East/West European crown.
Preston – 7 fights including heavyweight Dave Allen
Halifax – 7 fights including super lightweight Luke Kelehar and Fonz Alexander
Manchester – 11 fights including lightweight Joe Murray
Friday the 23rd June
Bristol – 7 fights
Newcastle – Matchroom and Sky present super welterweight Anthony Fowler, bantamweight Stuart Hall, super lightweight Bradley Saunders and super welterweight action between Josh Kelly and Tom Whitfield.