The Irish Eye 2018 preview special: Part 2
From the small-halls to the big arenas, The Irish Eye has it all covered in 2018. Part two of Kane Clarke's preview series looks ahead to the latest bouts for Conrad Cummings and Noely Murphy among others...
On Saturday, Ginley Promotions returns to the Devenish Complex, Belfast with 'Danger at the Devenish 3' in what looks to be another top night of boxing with a card stacked with upcoming Irish talent.
Coalisland middleweight Conrad Cummings [12(5)-1(0)-1] will headline the event in a six-round contest against Nicaraguan Michael Mora [11(4)-21(9). The world-ranked Tyrone fighter will look to make short work of the 25 year-old journeyman who featured at 'Danger in the Devenish 2' in December - being stopped in two by Padraig McCrory - as he builds towards his WBO European title defence against MTK Global stablemate Luke Keeler in April on the Frampton vs Donaire card at the SSE Arena.
McCrory [2(1)-0] himself will also be appearing on the card and will face off against Dublin-Dominican Manny Bique [0-2(1)] over four-rounds. 'The Hammer' will be hoping for an active 2018 after a stop-start debut year which included numerous clashes falling through at the last minute.
Elsewhere on the card, Dublin slickster Declan Geraghty [15(4)-2(1)] will be hoping to build on his career-best win over the previously undefeated Michael Roberts in July of last year, as he takes on Reynaldo Mora [7(4)-31(9)-1] - who extended the heavy-hitting Anthony Cacace the six-round distance in his last bout - over four rounds. Geraghty is targeting a much talked about rematch with fellow Dubliner Jono Carroll later in the year.
Belfast light-welterweight Anthony Upton [15(6)-1(0)] will also make an appearance on the undercard. The MTK managed former English champion will fight in a four-round contest as he takes on the ultra-durable Eligio Palacios of Nicaragua [7(0)-26(3)-5], who fights abroad for the first time in his ninth year as a professional.
Belfast fan-favourite Gerard 'Boom Boom' Healy [6(0)-4(1)-1] will be hoping for a fairly routine win as he takes on England's Iain Jackson [5(2)-36(11)-2] over four rounds. The Ray Ginley trained fighter is a late addition to 'Ireland's Last Man Standing' middleweight tournament which takes place on 3 March at The National Stadium, Dublin.
Belfast featherweight Sean Magee [1(1)-0] will make his second professional appearance since his first-round stoppage victory over Jules Phillips in the SSE Arena in June last year. The 28-year-old will take on the teak-tough Nicaraguan Elvis Guillen [9(6)-34(8)-4], who has extended the likes of Stuart Hall, Martin Patrick Ward, Isaac Lowe and Ryan Farrag the distance.
Unfortunately for Dublin fight fans there was a late cancellation to S.K. Promotions' event at The Citywest Hotel - due to the Hotel pulling the card the day before it was due to take place - which we previewed in Part 1 of this month's column. Fortunately, four of the MTK fighters were added to the Ginley Promotions card this Saturday, and with no opponents yet to be named in the away corner for the newcomers, we will once again have a look at what 2018 has in store for them.
Irish middleweight champion Luke Keeler [13(5)-2(1)] makes his first appearance since picking up his maiden title in July last year after a razor-thin points win over Darren Cruise. The Dubliner will be hoping to avoid any bad cuts or injuries as he is due to fight MTK stablemate Conrad Cummings on the Frampton sv Donaire bill in Belfast on 21 April in one of three North vs South bouts pencilled in for the bumper undercard.
Sean 'Creaghzy Horse' Creagh [7(2)-1(1)] will be looking to pick up where he left off in 2017 where he bagged himself three points victories, all coming in his home city. The Dublin light-welterweight has shown himself to be a 'fight anybody, anywhere' type of fighter and is no stranger to calling out many of his local rivals. He will be hoping that since teaming back up with MTK, that 2018 will bring him the big fights he craves.
Rio Olympian Davey Oliver Joyce [5(4)-0] has impressed massively since turning pro last summer, and will be hoping to position himself to challenge for titles at some point through 2018.
Like stablemate Keeler, the 30 year-old MTK fighter will be hoping to exit the ring on Saturday unscathed, as he also is due to appear on the Frampton vs Donaire bill in April before possibly challenging for a belt of some sort on the rumoured Michael Conlan homecoming card in the summer.
Naas lightweight Gary Cully [3(2)-0] is another 'one-to-watch' after three impressive wins in his debut year. The 6'2" southpaw impressed both Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren in 2017 with wins over Josh Thorne and Kane Baker on Burnett and Frampton undercards at the SSE Arena, and will be hoping that a win on Saturday night will see him return to the Arena shows in 2018 where the ultra-confident MTK prospect can showcase his impressive skill set.
Tonight at the BB King Grill, Manhattan, New York, undefeated Cork welterweight Noely Murphy [12(2)-0] will cut down to the 140lbs limit for the first time in his career, and challenge Brooklyn's undefeated Mikkel LesPierre [18(8)-0-1] for the vacant WBC USNBC title over ten-rounds.
The 23 year-old Lou DiBella promoted prospect will top the bill for the first time at the Times Square venue, and will be hoping to collect another '0' after outpointing the previously unbeaten Julio Cesar Sanchez [11(6)-0] at the same venue in July last year.
The Macroom native stated: “I’m delighted to headline an event in New York City and can’t wait until 7 February. I want to thank Lou DiBella and my manager Kevin Crowley for putting this fight together.
“I’m looking forward to testing myself in the 140lbs division and giving the fans a good fight. Mikkel LesPierre is a tough opponent but I have no doubt that belt is coming home with me back to Cork back to Ireland.”
On Friday 16 February at the Village Hotel, Bury, two unbeaten Irish prospects will enter the ring against journeymen that they might be expected to face a little further down the line in their respective careers.
Bray flyweight Regan Buckley [2(0)-0] has been active on social media recently stating his case for a shot at WBO European super-flyweight champion Sunny Edwards after the MTK fighter complained that no-one would face him, but firstly 'The Rocket' will have to negotiate a tough six-rounder against a former opponent of Edwards in Craig Derbyshire [5(1)-24(3)-3] - who currently holds the English Central Area title.
Also on the card, 6'1" Belfast super-featherweight Mathew 'The Freak' Fitzsimons will look to make a statement as he takes on ultra-durable Jamie Quinn 3(0)-51(1)-2 over four-rounds. Quinn caused an Irish upset last year as he outpointed Kildare's Alan Phelan in the National Stadium, Dublin, and has only failed to see the final bell once in his 51 losses, falling to a first-round stoppage against Belfast banger Anthony Cacace.
On 16 February, professional boxing will return to Waterford for the first time in 73 years when Neil Powers Promotions present their inaugural 'Ring Kings' event at the WIT Arena, featuring a recent world title challenger as well as a host of undefeated Irish talent.
Undefeated Athy featherweight Eric 'Lilywhite Lightning' Donovan [6(3)-0] will look to continue his meteoric rise through the ranks with a win over Hungarian Ignac Kasssi [22(7)-55(25)-2] when they face-off over six rounds. The 37-year-old journeyman has Irish previous having been stopped by Carl Frampton, James Tennyson and Joe Fitzpatick to name a few, and BUI Celtic champion Donovan will be hoping for a similar outcome come fight night as he fights outside The National Stadium for the first time in his professional career.
There's a tasty light-middleweight contest on the undercard as Irish-born Dubai resident Rohan Date [3(2)-0] goes to battle over six rounds against South African-born Cork resident Jade Kiram [9(4)-5(2)-2].
Elsewhere on the undercard there are another six bouts with opponents for the away corner yet to be confirmed, but recent WBC world cruiserweight challenger Mike Perez is pencilled in to make his first appearance since his frustrating points loss to Mairis Briedis in the World Boxing Super Series quarter-final.
Lucan welterweight John Joyce [3(2)-0] will fight in a six-round contest for the first time in his professional career as he looks to kick-on from three impressive performances in 2017 where he bagged two early stoppages as well as a shut-out points victory over Jamesy 'The Chin' Gorman.
Craig McCarthy [2(0)-0] will also be stepping up to a six-rounder in just his third professional fight since turning over in October last year. The 22-year-old super middleweight will no doubt be looking to put on a performance for his Waterford faithful who have had to travel to Dublin thus far to watch the local fighter.
Limerick southpaw Graham McCormick O'Shea will make his second pro appearance in a four-round contest as the light middleweight looks to up his record to 2-0 after debuting in December with a points decision win over Richard Baba at the National Stadium.
Another fighter looking to move to 2-0 is highly touted Dublin welterweight Keane McMahon. The 23-year-old will be looking to push on in 2018 having not fought since winning his debut back in May with a four-round points decision over Lukasz Kuc.
And finally, there will be a pro debut for Waterford light heavyweight Barry Barnes. The local man will be delighted to be making his debut in front of his home crowd having seen his original debut date fall through last year.