BOXNATION BACK TO BELFAST

posted on: 04/05/2017

By Frank Warren

Belfast Boxing June 17

We are back on the Belfast beat on June 17 – live and exclusive on BoxNation – from the stunning Waterfront Hall.

You won’t hear me say this too often but, in the case of Jamie Conlan, I will be more than happy on this occasion for him to record a routine victory this time around, because big plans are in the works for him.

A repeat of his epic, albeit thrilling, struggles against Yader Cardoza last time out and previously against Anthony Nelson and Junior Granados would not be ideal preparation for what we have in store for him.

He rightly wants to keep his hand in on the June card, but we also need him to keep his hands up and stay out of too much bother!

A deserved shot at the WBO world title is being worked on and we don’t want anything to put the mockers on what will be a special Belfast night later in the year.

Jamie’s regular sidekick Paddy Barnes is, however, ready to jump in at the deep end with a shot at the WBO European title in just his third fight as a professional.

Paddy, having been an amateur of vast experience, wants to move quickly through the professional ranks and the claiming of a first title will provide a passport towards the elite level.

The belt, for him, will just be a bonus because it is the ranking that comes with it that will count. Once you are ranked in the top 15 by a world governing body, doors open for you and world title shots can quickly become a reality.

Paddy Barnes

First though, Paddy must negotiate his way past Silvio Olteanu. The Spaniard – a former European champion at flyweight – has fought in Manchester previously against Paul Butler, where he was stopped in the sixth round.

His record of 16-11-1 may be patchy, but he has fought at a high level and he represents an ideal test for Paddy at this early stage of his pro career.

The Belfast card is not complete just yet, but there are a couple of potential barnstormers already booked in on the card.

Craig Evans – having finally shaken off Tom Stalker after their entertaining trilogy – will defend his WBO European lightweight title against the popular Dubliner Stephen Ormond.

Ormond is really looking to get himself back into the mix after being on the brink of a world title challenge before falling to defeat in a final eliminator against Terry Flanagan in early 2015.

Ormond has had some top sparring recently against Flanagan himself and he will need to be at his best against Evans, who is a talented operator with big ambitions of his own.

Another Dubliner, Jono Carroll, challenges for the vacant IBF European super featherweight title against Liverpool’s Johnny Quigley.

Both fighters are still in possession of their cherished ‘0’, so I would imagine something will have to give on the night, which I suspect will be another top one for boxing in Belfast.

******

It is particularly encouraging to receive the daily bulletins from Tyson Fury over in Marbella where he is getting back in the swing of things alongside Billy Joe Saunders.

Working alongside a world middleweight champion, who has a big date to prepare for, will do Tyson the power of good and the weight loss he has reported will serve him well for when he really gets back in the thick of it with his trainer and mentor Peter Fury.

Tyson Fury

Tyson certainly appears to be in good spirits, which is the most positive sign after suffering the anguish of mental health issues that resulted in him having to part ways with his treasured world heavyweight title belts.

The heavyweight world has moved on since then, but Tyson remains the unbeaten lineal champion of the division and he is sure to make a big splash again when he is officially given the green light to return to competing in the sport he excels in.

Time, at just 28 years of age, is thankfully on his side and I firmly believe he will restore himself to the top of the pecking order, which has been gatecrashed in his absence.

He might not have it all his own way on his return because his cousin Hughie will remain on the hunt for the WBO title once he is back in full working order after his back injury.

So there really are fascinating – not to mention lucrative – times ahead for the giants of the game.

Tyson’s name was quickly uttered from the lips of Anthony Joshua after his see-saw battle with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley last weekend and what a prospect that fight would be when it inevitably gets made at some point in the future.

I take my hat off to Joshua. It was a terrific fight and a stirring performance from the Brit, one that was great for boxing. The sport is now high in the public esteem and it is something we will continue to build on in our own upcoming top quality shows across BoxNation and BT.

But if the wily old Wlad presented Joshua with a spot of bother, wait until Tyson starts setting a few puzzles!

First things first though, Tyson still requires the all-clear from UKAD and the Board of Control before he can really focus in on a ring return and he will finally get his hearing on May 8.

Hopefully, soon after, he will be back in business and the heavyweight picture will be all the brighter for having him back in it.

More from Frank tomorrow

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