MICHAEL CONLAN will face former world title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos in his homecoming ﬁght on Saturday June 30 live on BT Sport.
His ﬁrst seven ﬁghts have taken place in the United States but Frank Warren is bringing him home to the Odyssey Arena on another brilliant ﬁght night in Belfast.
Conlan’s return to his back yard is also the featherweight star’s ﬁrst ever ten rounder and another step towards him emulating Irish greats and becoming a world champion.
Conlan hasn’t boxed in his home city since December 2010 when he lost a controversial decision in the Ulster Senior Championships.
He said: “It is an honour to be boxing at the Odyssey Arena and an even bigger honour to be headlining the card.
“I have been there watching Carl Frampton box many times and often pictured myself in that ring being cheered on.”
Brazilian Dos Santos, 26, has won 19 of his 23 professional and last year challenged Jessie Magdaleno for the WBO super-bantamweight title.
On a previous British visit in 2014 he lost on points against Kid Galahad over 12 rounds and promises to give Conlan a tough night.
‘The Conlan Revolution,’ as it has become known since the Irish Olympian turned professional under the Top Rank banner in March of 2017, will come across its sternest test to date.
Conlan added: “Dos Santos has competed at the highest level and this ﬁght will be my toughest ﬁght as professional to date.
“He has challenged for the world title, made Kid Galahad work, but I believe it’s a test I am ready for.
“At this stage it’s all about progression and learning. I believe it’s the right step at the right time.”
The undercard has produced one of the most competitive undercards ever seen in Belfast with a catalogue of 50-50 needle showdowns.
World ranked Jack Catterall risks his WBO super-lightweight title against Belfast’s Tyrone McKenna.
There is a brilliant all Dublin rematch when Jono Carroll defends his IBF intercontinental crown against Declan Geraghty. When the warring rivals met in November 2014, Geraghty was ahead on the cards when he was disqualiﬁed in the fourth round.
Belfast’s Paddy Gallagher faces recent world title challenger Gary Corcoran in a British welterweight title eliminator.
In a clash of unbeaten hopefuls, Derry’s Tyrone McCullagh meets Glasgow’s Joe Ham in vacant Celtic super-bantamweight title clash that doubles as a British championship eliminator.
The undercard is stacked with top prospects including Lewis Crocker, Sunny Edwards, Padraig McCrory, Taylor McGoldrick, Neslan Machado, Garry Cully plus Johnny Coyle and Lewis Benson who clash over ten rounds.
Tickets priced at £44, £55, £65, £85, £105, £125, £205
are available via the SSE Arena Belfast official website
Several prospects in Britain’s talent stacked super-featherweight parish might presently profit from higher profiles but none bring better pedigree than unbeaten Sidcup skill merchant Archie Sharp.
A former European schoolboy finalist and nine-time national junior champion, the 5ft 9in ‘Sharpshooter’ from Kent has quietly romped to a dozen straight wins since vaulting to the pros in July 2015. Seven victims were dispatched early, the other five failed to take a single round from him.
‘I’m only 23, only 12 fights in. When it’s my time, I’ll shine,’ insists the MTK managed starlet who showcases his wares in a scheduled eight rounder on Saturday’s fight fiesta at London’s O2 Arena.
‘I made big statements as an amateur and, in time, I’ll do the same as a pro. When I eventually hit the top, I intend staying there for a very long time.
‘Last fight, I performed alright. The kid (Spain’s Ivan Ruiz Morote) had a good record and we thought he’d have a go but after I clipped him with a few shots in the first round, he just went on his bike. I hardly got hit, won every single round clearly before finishing him in the seventh (body shots). I’m ready to step up.
‘I mixed with the very best as an amateur and I’ve always acquitted myself well sparring against the best as a pro. As a kid, I did work with the Walsh twins (British champions Liam and Ryan) plus Carl Frampton and, lately, I’ve sparred Ricky Burns, Joey Cordina and Martin J. Ward. So I’m not fazed by the prospect of fighting anyone in the UK.
‘After Saturday, I’ll have done my apprenticeship and it’ll be time to chase titles in the new season, Southern Area, English, WBO European……. I’m ready for 10 rounders now and I’m not far off 12 rounders. I’m quite happy to be chucked in the pot with any of these other prospects.
‘The one that makes most sense is Lyon Woodcock. We’re the same age, same record, same promoter. Let’s do it this September.
‘No disrespect to Lyon, I just believe I can find a way to beat any other super-featherweight. I’ve shared a ring with far better boys, several top Olympians. He’s been making very hard work, been getting bumped up, against opponents he really shouldn’t be getting hit by.
‘I’ve agreed to fight him three times but was told he’s not ready. I’m certainly not avoiding him. All I request is a full, fair camp. No playing games.’
Having sizzled on four arena shows at the Copper Box Arena, Chelsea fan Archie makes his O2 debut this weekend in a fourth successive scheduled eight rounder against an as yet unnamed opponent.
‘This will be my first fight with a nutritionist. Previously, I’ve been making super-featherweight way too easily. Lately, I’ve been working a lot on my power and strength. Let’s see what I can deliver at the top end of the weight,’ says the Richard Sawyer coached starlet who recently became a father to son Presley.
‘Some say I’d be better served fighting higher up the bill on smaller shows but I actually like being among all the big names at the biggest venues. I’m only a fight or so away from playing a more prominent part in more testing fights on these huge bills. You’ll see me thrive off pressure; on bigger stages against better opponents.
‘On Saturday at The O2, people will see I bring the class to this sport. You’ll see me throw and land shots that I’m not supposed to throw. I do things no one else can do. The aim of boxing is to hit and not get hit and on Saturday I’ll deliver a masterclass.
‘Then I’m aiming for a title shot on the next big London show, probably in September. If Woodstock’s in the opposite corner, all well and good.’
Ryan Garner may be barely out of his teen years but already the spiteful punching Southampton starlet has designs on proving himself ‘The Daddy’ of the domestic featherweight division.
Once a European schoolboy champion, the aptly named ‘Piranha’ has already shredded seven significantly more seasoned circuit fighters since debuting in June 2016, and only two managed to complete the scheduled four rounds.
‘I know that, outside the ring, I still look a baby-faced kid but I’ve never felt like the ‘boy’ between the ropes,’ states the 5ft 6in angel-faced assassin who steps up to six round level on Saturday’s talent-stacked bill at London’s O2 Arena.
‘Already, I’m as strong as every opponent I’ve fought – I’ve pushed ‘em all back – and I’ll only get stronger. I do a lot of S and C work against my own body weight, loads of stability and core work.
‘As a very young kid, I was really mouthy and my two older brothers used to batter me. I had to learn to fight back from a very young age. They toughened me up pretty quickly. I may only be 20 but I’ve been at this a long time. I just really love fighting.’
The 20 year old’s 7-0 slate lists just 21 paid rounds but already the fearless Frank Hopkins managed prospect is eyeing the domestic 9st elite.
‘Right now, the British featherweight division is booming and I can’t wait to get involved,’ claims the ex-carpenter’s apprentice who is trained by Wayne Batten on England’s south coast.
‘You’ve got Frampton, Warrington and Selby at world level. Ryan Walsh is a real top quality British champion who can really switch it on, on his best nights. He’s very well drilled, no glaring weaknesses. I think he’ll come through his rematch with Isaac Lowe. I didn’t really rate Isaac when we sparred.
‘Recently, I won a lot of money on Ryan Doyle against Reece Bellotti. While Bellotti has heavy hands, his boxing ability is shocking.
‘But in a couple of years down the line, I’ll be happy to get in with any of them. I just need to get valuable experience at six, eight and ten round level. If I want to be a major champion, I’ll HAVE to fight someone good.
‘Ideally, I want to be 11-0, 12-0 and fighting in eight rounders by the end of this year, knocking at the door for 10 round title fights. Without doubt, I know I’ll get there.’
Latterly, Saints fan Ryan has accelerated his apprenticeship with extensive spars against white hot Irish double Olympian Michael Conlan.
‘I’ve been having quality spars two or three times a week with Mick at Adam Booth’s gym in London, ahead of his homecoming in Belfast next weekend,’ says Garner who represented England on 19 occasions as an amateur.
‘We really push each other and you’d pay to watch us. He’s 26 and I’m still only 20. Mick’s punch variety is very good and he’s so smart. He forces me to think more. My boxing intelligence has come on hugely.
‘He’s also a really nice guy who helps me massively. He tells me that I’m more than capable of winning titles. I’m learning far more sparring him than I am in my fights.’
Saturday’s bonanza bill features several of the nation’s most gifted young talents and the scramble for post-fight accolades and column inches is sure to be intense. Garner, who confronts Hungary’s 6-3 Norbert Eszenyi, will need to be at his vicious best if he is to court attention.
‘Fight night is feeding time for ‘The Piranha’!’ he quips.
‘I turned pro for these kind of nights. Hopefully, fans will enjoy my all-action style and my passion. I throw a lot of punches, that’s my main attribute. As opponents fade, I get more into it.
‘It’s a good test. From what I’ve seen on tape, my opponent’s a very game boy, likes to fight back. But that’s how you learn, get rounds. I intend to stop him, but hopefully, it won’t happen too early.
‘I can’t wait to show the fans what I’m made of. I promise people won’t be disappointed.’
English Super-Middleweight czar Darryll Williams is all fighter; built like a fighter, scowls like a fighter, struts like a fighter, barks like a fighter.
But the 5ft 9in slab of black marble who sports a ‘Built for War’ tattoo and owns a maximum security glare is promising fight fans a style make-over that would flatter Gok Won, when he returns to duty after 11 months of exile at London’s O2 Arena on June 23rd.
After a brief stint under two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton up in Manchester, ‘Ferocious’ from Forest Hill recently relocated to Swansea, Wales to rekindle his alliance with native Welshman Dave John, the coach who first instructed the rough and rugged 18 year old in the nuances of The Noble Art at the Double Jab gym in Herne Hill.
People are in for a shock regarding my boxing ability,’ warns the dipping, ducking, slugging, hooking south Londoner who makes no secret of his past life as a hoodlum on the unforgiving streets of SE23.
‘I’m back with the man who gave me my raw style as a teenage amateur. David realised that my personality determined I was never going to allow myself to be put on the back foot. But lately I’ve been working on different things; everything off the jab, feinting.
‘Look, the fighting part, the raw aggression, the heart, the chin, can’t really be taught. You get that from the street and it’ll always be there. After my fights, people often said: ‘That would’ve been a good fight OUT of the ring!’
‘The excitement will always be there, guaranteed, but now there’ll be boxing within the fighting. I’ve just added subtleties and science picked up at other gyms to the aggression and rawness I always had.
‘In Wales, I’ve become associated with a company, AJM Boxing, that’s looked after me really well, handled my strength and conditioning, introduced me to yoga and gymnastics. It’s really improved my flexibility. My patience and timing are better and I deliver my punches in a unique way. There’ll be a lot more finesse and technicality.’
Last November, aged just 27, sporting a perfect 16 fight slate (six stoppages) and fresh off a brace of impressive English title wins against Leicester man Smyle, headstrong Williams astounded the trade by announcing his ring retirement, citing lack of opportunities. Hence, the dormancy.
However, he re-considered earlier this year after receiving re-assurances from Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren.
‘On Saturday, I’ve got to make myself look like I’m worth the hassle,’ claims the 28 year old who is managed by Mickey Helliet.
‘It’s been very frustrating and a lot of mental strength was required to keep going but we’re here now and I’m chomping at the bit, ready to go.
‘As much as it’s been difficult to retain focus, the time away has been beneficial because it’s allowed me to become comfortable with the changes I’ve made.’
On Saturday night, warlord Williams makes his return on a stacked London show with outstanding young talent.
‘It’ll be great to be part of the history of an arena that’s hosted so many iconic fighters, musicians, comedians,’ concludes ‘Ferocious’, a father of one, who relaxes by reading books on war strategy!
‘Once I get through next weekend, I just want to remain busy. I’d rather have four smaller fights in quick succession than wait for one big one.
‘I may not be respectful to the opposition once a fight is made but I don’t waste time calling people out.
‘The one that does interest me is (Chris) Eubank Jr. We’ve history dating back to 2012 when, as I was walking back to my corner before a spar, he ran up behind me and hit me on the back of the head. I’m not having that crap! When the spar started, it was more of a street brawl and he just kept holding. Even his coach Ronnie Davies had to tell him to stop holding on. Eventually his Dad pulled me off.
‘Junior can only fight one way, front foot, and nobody pushes ‘Ferocious’ back!’
PROMOTER Frank Warren today held the ﬁnal press conference ahead of Saturday’s o2 Arena show topped topped by Roberto Garcia’s WBC Silver Middleweight Title defence against Martin Murray.
The likely prize for the winner is being made mandatory challenger for WBC world champion, Gennady Golovkin.
Other title bouts on the bill that is being televised by BT Sport are Anthony Yarde’s WBO Intercontinental and European light-heavyweight title defence against Dariuz Sek, KO King Daniel Dubois meets trash talking Tom Little for the vacant English heavyweight crown and Britain’s most controversial boxer Ohara Davies challenges WBC International Super-Lightweight champion Paul Kamanga.
Also in action are Darryl Williams, Johnny Garton, Raza Hamza, Archie Sharp, Umar Sadiq and Harvey Horn.
“There is a bit of football on, but this is a good ﬁghting bill with competitive ﬁghts. “There have been changes to the card with Billy Joe Saunders pulling out, but we have worked hard to secure a good opponent for Martin and we have done that. Martin is one of the stalwarts of British boxing and always in good ﬁghts, but he cannot afford to lose this ﬁght. It’s a cracking ﬁght between two very good ﬁghters and the winner becomes an A side attraction. “Anthony Yarde was offered a ﬁght with Kovalev but we turned it down. He needs that experience. The objective is to win it and defend it. Each time he ﬁghts he will step up. “Daniel Dubois is the best young heavyweight I have been involved with.”
“I have always been on the B side and built a career of pulling off upsets. This is something I’m used to and I am the last throwback ﬁghter. We thought we had the Gennady Golovkin ﬁght a couple months back, and it has been frustrating. I told Don King I wanted a big ﬁght and I pleaded for a big ﬁght and he got this overnight. I have a lot to ﬁght for and I need this ﬁght more than Martin. I go hard, as hard as I have to.”
“When Billy Joe pulled out I thought I would’t ﬁght, but getting a meaningful ﬁght means a lot. I was gutted that Billy Joe pulled out, but never took my eyes off the ball. Garcia was calling for the ﬁght on Twitter and he can bring that. He is the opposite of Billy Joe and I won’t have to go looking for him. It is about levels and I will show that on Saturday. Being so close before in world titles makes me more hungry and determined. As soon I feel I can’t offer anything to the sport I will gone.”
“I don’t know too much about Dariusz, but I go out and do my job. It doesn’t matter if he is southpaw, northpaw or westpaw. Sparring with southpaws have been different but nothing to worry me. When you have power, that relaxes you. I am not thinking this is a pushover. People talk about world title offers, but boxing is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
“I am looking forward to the ﬁght and I will win. I have seen his ﬁghts and we have adapted our training techniques to win the ﬁght on Saturday. I will keep my distance and show him how it is done.
“I don’t like or dislike Tom, but I am ready to do the business. I am prepared to ﬁght whether it ends in the ﬁrst round or last. He can try what he wants I am ready for it. Tom is a weak man mentally and I will show that. He is nothing.”
“I’m much more than a four day notice man coming to pick up a pay cheque. I will be drilling that rib cage and I will drown Daniel very slowly. I should have bought him armbands. He is going to get welcomed to a man’s world. This ﬁght is way too early for Daniel. I am not the superstar and have zero pressure. He is the one who has got to impress. When it gets down and dirty I will be the tougher. I’ve dreamt of this chance and will not put it to waste.”
“This guy is bum. He gives a story of coming up the hard way but we all did. This is an easy ﬁght, a walk in the park. I am smarter than him and all I need is a ring IQ. He is gonna get beat, paid and be on the next ﬂight back to Congo. I am gonna eat as much food as a I can after I win. When he is on a plane home and I have crushed his dreams I will be on a plane to Marbella celebrating. It will be so easy I will tell him what shot I am going to throw. When I beat him I want Jack Catterall.”
“I don’t share the same sentiment as many do regarding Ohara’s boxing. He is average at best. It is a short notice ﬁght for me, but I don’t see him going ten rounds. I am going to do the British public favour. I am no replacement coming for a payday. I am not a champion by luck and I will put this kid away.”
Triple Olympian Paddy Barnes will challenge Cristofer Rosales for the WBC World Flyweight Title on the undercard of Carl Frampton v Luke Jackson at Windsor Park on August 18.
Barnes (5-0-KO1), who has two Olympic bronze medals to his name, will enjoy home support in Belfast as he bids to conquer the world in just his sixth bout as a professional.
Nicaragua’s Rosales (27-3-KO18) has been outpointed by Kal Yafai and Andrew Selby in the past but won the WBC crown with a stunning ninth-round stoppage of Daigo Higa back in April.
Barnes said: “I’m extremely excited. I’ve been boxing for 20 years and I made history by becoming a two-time Olympic medallist. Now I can become a world champion early in my pro career and make more history.
“My last fight was back in November but I’ve been in training camp since January as the original plan was to fight in March. It’s been frustrating but I always have faith in MTK Global and they’ve delivered.
“As for Rosales, he’s on a knockout streak so I know he can punch but he’s also a very good boxer. I think our styles will gel perfectly and the fans are in for a real war.
“He’s only lost three times to high-class opponents like Kal Yafai and Andrew Selby. Yafai outmuscled him and Selby outboxed him. I’m hoping I can do a bit of both.
“The atmosphere on the night will be absolutely incredible. Belfast as a city is full of knowledgeable boxing fans and they’ll get behind me against a very good world champion.
“I’ve fought all around the world in massive arenas and I loved it every time. This one will be extra special as it’s in my home city. I won’t be fazed by it – it will inspire me.”
A red letter night of boxing includes WBO interim world featherweight champion Carl Frampton – also from Belfast – clashing with the unbeaten Luke Jackson, with lineal world heavyweight king Tyson Fury starring on the bill.
DARRYLL WILLIAMS appears to have found his mojo after going back to where his boxing love affair started.
The English super-middleweight champion dramatically retired from boxing last July after the second of his thrilling back-to-back wins against Jahmaine Smyle.
The South Londoner is returning after reuniting with David John, his ﬁrst ever boxing coach when Darryll was a teenager. It meant leaving Ricky Hatton’s camp in Manchester and moving to Swansea. He believes the switch will pay off when he returns on Saturday’s o2 Arena bill, that is being screened live on BT Sport.
Williams who has won all 16 ﬁghts said: “I will be winning in good fashion on Saturday. “It was a good time in my career when I retired though because people were talking about me, but things happened and I had to deal with issues.
“I am back now and with a new training team. I am in Swansea with my old trainer, David John and things are really starting to look up even though it is a long way from South London.
“I had been with Ricky Hatton in Manchester, but that was costing me a lot of money going back and forward. Luckily in Swansea I was able to get sponsorship.”
Williams, 28, had personal problems which pushed him towards his shock quit announcement and the exciting puncher was also vocal on social media.
He added: “I’ve had some issues and some of the stuff I put on social networks when I said I leaving boxing may have upset some people, but I apologise to my manager Mickey Helliet and promoter Frank Warren.
“I made a rash decision on impulse. I was very emotional at the time. I had just lost my grandmother who I was very close to.
“Things were very awkward for me at that time and I needed that space. Now it is time to cultivate, go further and not have time out of the ring.”
Williams has been linked with a ﬁght against conﬁdent new pro Umar Sadiq who has called him out even though he will be having only his third professional ﬁght on Saturday’s bill.
Darryll is refusing to rise to challenges or give a hit list, but added: “I just want to stay active in 2018 and keep ﬁghting.
“That is the only way I am going to get better and learn. Stay in the ring, stay ﬁghting and you can always correct your mistakes.
“People fancy it against me, but they haven’t come up against my character. That is what throws a lot of people off.”
Williams is back in action on a bill topped by Roberto Garcia’s WBC silver middleweight title defence against Martin Murray.
The high quality bill includes Anthony Yarde’s WBO Intercontinental light heavyweight title defence against Dariuz Sek. In a battle for the vacant English heavyweight championship KO King Daniel Dubois meets trash talking Tom Little. Others stars on the bill include Ohara Davies, Johnny Garton, Raza Hamza, Archie Sharp, Umar Sadiq and Harvey Horn.
UMAR SADIQ wants to face English super-middleweight champion Darryll Williams in his fourth professional ﬁght.
Both men are in action on Saturday’s big bill at London’s o2 Arena, but will only be sharing the dressing room corridor on this occasion.
Sadiq, 30, who gave up a lucrative accountancy career to box professionally will be having his third professional ﬁght, but is in a rush to face his fellow Londoner.
He said: “Some people think it is bold wanting to ﬁght Darryll Williams so soon in my career, but I believe in my ability.
“Darryll is good for what he is, but what you see is what you get. He looks robust, aggressive and strong. That is exactly what he comes with.
“Unfortunately with my pedigree and skill he is going to need a lot more than that to deal with me. “I look at the guys ﬁghting at English level and I am conﬁdent that I can compete with them.
“I get a lot of conﬁdence from all the very good men I boxed in the amateurs and who I spar with now. I have sparred Lawrence Okolie, James DeGale and Joshua Buatsi.”
Williams is unbeaten in 16 ﬁghts and although Sadiq is a novice pro he added: “Hopefully Darryl wins his ﬁght at the o2 as well and hopefully at some point this year, the ﬁght can be made.
“It might only be my third professional ﬁght coming up but anytime after that I will go for the ﬁght against Darryll.”
Sadiq has won both professional ﬁghts on points and has prepared for Saturday’s contest at the Mayweather gym in Las Vegas and in Los Angeles at the Wild Card.
He sparred with the likes of Lateef Kayode and unbeaten cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti. “I have developed majorly in the United States and people have got to turn up or tune in on BT Sport to see how much good it did me,” said Sadiq.
“I went to Los Angeles to the Wild Card gym and in Las Vegas I used the Mayweather gym. “I put my face around, but didn’t mention I had been an accountant. A lot of the coaches out there said I was going to make it to the top which was nice to hear.”
Sadiq boxes on a bill topped by Roberto Garcia’s WBC silver middleweight title defence against St Helens Martin Murray.
Carl Frampton will defend his ‘interim’ WBO world featherweight title against unbeaten Australian Luke Jackson at Windsor Park, Belfast on Saturday August 18, fulﬁlling a dream to ﬁght at the famous football stadium.
Lineal World Heavyweight Champion Tyson Fury will box a non-title ten rounder in his second comeback ﬁght on a mission to conquer the world once again. Paddy Barnes will challenge for the WBC World Flyweight title in just his sixth professional contest when he faces champion Cristofer Rosales.
The Nicaraguan will be making the ﬁrst defence of his title he captured in April with a stunning upset win against Daigo Higa.
Promoter Frank Warren today announced the stunning bill that will televised live on BT Sport at a packed press conference held at Windsor Park.
Tickets on sale Friday from www.ticketmaster.ie. Price at £40, £50, £80, £100, £120, £150, £250, £400 (includes hospitality).
“I thought last year Windsor Park had passed but Frank and the Irish Football Association have done a great job.
“I come here and watch the football team and the atmosphere cannot be beaten anywhere in the world. Its like 80,000 fans giving you support.
“I respect any opponent especially when they are coming to Windsor Park. “There are bigger ﬁghts but I cannot overlook Luke. Windsor Park need me to put on a big performance.
“Luke is an Olympian, an undefeated ﬁghter and this can change his life if he beats me in a ﬁght of this magnitude.
“This is a tougher ﬁght than Scott Quigg who is just looking for a payday.”
“I genuinely think I am better than three years ago and even big Tyson Fury wouldn’t beat me at Windsor Park.”
“To have Tyson on the undercard and Paddy in a world title ﬁght is something else.”
“My father told me I have Irish ancestors so I’m home.”
“I’m a fan of Carl and he is humble. He is very good and I am going to have to be at my best.
“Carl doesn’t do anything great, but he is fundamentally sound and I am here to win. I am not here by luck.
“It has taken 16 years and got here through hard work and dedication.”
“I roomed with Jeff Horn at London 2012 and to see him beat Manny Pacquiao gives me hope and I have this massive opportunity.
“My life will change overnight if I win. I have been proving people wrong for a long time and I am ready to do it again.”
“I have been pretty vocal that I wanted Oscar Valdez, but this is even better. This is why we do it.”
“This will be my fourth time boxing in Belfast and I cannot wait.”
“Seferi was 23-1 but as soon as I clipped him he didn’t want to know. I can’t complain. I am still good looking.
“I hope we get someone who will punch me in the face, bust my face, bust my nose and I can show them.”
“I am still hoping for four ﬁghts this year.”
Carl Frampton will realise a career-long dream when he defends his WBO Interim World Featherweight Title against Luke Jackson on the pitch at Windsor Park, Belfast, on August 18, on a card that also features Paddy Barnes challenging for the WBC World Flyweight title and the second fight of Tyson Fury on the comeback trail.
The 31-year-old two-weight world champion Frampton, who rolled back the years with a memorising performance to win the WBO belt against Nonito Donaire last time out at the SSE Arena in April, takes on the unbeaten Australian from Hobart in a bid to keep his ambitions to once again rule the featherweight roost on track.
The 33-year-old Jackson, 16-0, is the holder of the WBO Oriental Title, having previously held the WBA Oceania belt. He also captained the Australian boxing team at the 2012 London Olympics and won Commonwealth Games bronze in 2006.
Frampton acknowledges his challenger could be deemed something of an unknown quantity to fight fans in the Northern Hemisphere, but will in no way take victory on the night for granted.
“He is and I think a lot of people will expect to just to beat him up and blow him away,” commented Belfast’s favourite fighting son. “But he is ranked No.4 by the WBO, he is an Olympian with a good pedigree and is undefeated.
“So I will need to be ready and in the shape of my life. It is a big occasion with being at Windsor Park and that is the real thing here. I think that people who are coming to watch me perform at Windsor Park deserve for me to be in the shape of my life and put on a good show.
“That is what I intend to do and then move on and hopefully fight for a world title before the end of the year.
“I imagine some people will have been expecting a different opponent, but the fact I am not fighting a world champion is the fault of nobody. Josh Warrington beating Lee Selby sort of threw a spanner in the works for us because I think Selby would’ve come to Belfast.
“Oscar Valdez is out injured, Gary Russell has just fought and Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares also just fought. That’s it really; the top guys just aren’t available. It is good for me to get a defence in here.
“This is a dream for me and it is something I have talked about for a long time. You never know what happens in this game, it could be the one and only time I get to fight at Windsor Park.
“It is going to be a special occasion for myself and my family. For the people who are going to come and watch it there is going to be a top quality undercard as well and I think it will be a night to remember for Belfast.
“There was talk of waiting, but I wanted to do it because opportunities like this don’t come around too often. It is a dream of mine, I wanted to do it and that is the be all and end all.”
Hall of Fame promoter, Frank Warren, added: “We are delivering on a promise I made to Carl to ensure his dream of fighting at Windsor Park becomes a reality.
“The world title challenge we envisaged we unfortunately could not bring to fruition at this time but Carl is up against a hungry, unbeaten challenger in Luke Jackson who, as I often say, will not be coming to just make up the numbers.
“World title shots will come again soon enough for Carl and we have the IBF champion Josh Warrington waiting in the wings for a huge fight not too far down the line. Carl will also remain in pole position to challenge the WBO full champion Oscar Valdez when he returns from injury, should he overcome Jackson.
“Carl, as ever, will always be the focal point of a fight night in Belfast, but we are also planning a huge card for the Belfast public to feast their eyes on and two major attractions we have already confirmed is Tyson Fury making his fourth appearance in the city in his second fight of his comeback, as well as Paddy Barnes attempting to achieve the remarkable feat of winning a world title in just his sixth professional fight.
“It is certain to be a special night and I am sure Windsor Park will be packed to the rafters creating an atmosphere we have never heard the like of before.”
Barnes challenges for the WBC World Flyweight title against the Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales, 27-3, who claimed the belt in a huge upset win over the previously unbeaten Japanese Daigo Higa in April, with a ninth round stoppage in Yokahoma.
“It is going to be an amazing night where I get to fight for a world title in my home city, so I cannot wait until it happens,” said the 31-year-old two-time Olympic medallist.
“The fact it is for the WBC title means even more, the green belt is the best one in boxing so it makes it even more special.
“Rosales is good at what he does, but I feel I have the skill to outfight and outbox him. It will be a very, very hard fight though.
“People will talk about me fighting for a world title after just six fights, but I don’t view it as a gamble because of my history as an amateur.
“As a professional, right from the offset, I said that I wanted to create history because we already have world champions in Belfast. So for me to stand out I need to create history by doing it the quickest.
“I don’t think winning a world title after six fights will ever be matched again here.”
Tickets will be on sale on Friday 22nd June via Ticketmaster.ie
Priced at: £400 (Hospitality), £250, £150, £120, £100, £80, £50, £40