HE’S COM­ING HOME

Boxing News - - Contents - Paul Wheeler

Hugely pop­u­lar ex-am­a­teur star Con­lan gets ready for his Belfast bow

Con­lan re­turns home for the rst time as a pro, writes TALK­ING POINT CON­LAN is signed to Amer­i­can pro­mo­tional gi­ant Top Rank, which ex­plains why six of his seven pro out­ings so far have been staged in the US.

HUGELY pop­u­lar Belfast feath­er­weight

Michael Con­lan

has an added in­cen­tive to put on an eye-catch­ing per­for­mance this Satur­day (June 30). Not only is the red­hot prospect look­ing to con­tinue his im­pres­sive start as a pro­fes­sional (seven wins, five in­side the course), but he is also box­ing in his home­town for the first time as a pro. You can be sure that the 26-year-old will be go­ing all out to daz­zle his fans with a scin­til­lat­ing show­ing.

Op­pos­ing Con­lan over eight rounds at the SSE Arena – live on BT Sport 1/ Box­na­tion (UK) and ESPN+ (US) – is Brazil’s for­mer WBO su­per-ban­tamweight ti­tle chal­lenger Adeil­son Dos San­tos, 19-4 (15). The San­tana de Par­naíba res­i­dent boasts far more ex­pe­ri­ence in the paid ranks than Con­lan, and cer­tainly rep­re­sents a step up in class for the North­ern Ir­ish­man, who has so far feasted ex­clu­sively on un­her­alded foes as a pro. Nev­er­the­less, Dos San­tos is by no means a world-beater.

The South Amer­i­can has lost three of his last six con­tests, in­clud­ing most re­cently in April via clear unan­i­mous de­ci­sion against the un­beaten but untested Evgeny Smirnov. Twelve months pre­vi­ously, Dos San­tos was wiped out in just two rounds by then-wbo su­per­ban­tam boss Jessie Mag­daleno.

This week­end’s trip to the UK will not be Dos San­tos’ first. In Septem­ber 2014, the 26-year-old suf­fered a wide unan­i­mous points loss to the un­de­feated Kid Gala­had in Sh­effield, dur­ing which he was decked twice. The vis­i­tor has de­cent power but, as his record in­di­cates, he can be floored and KO’D. Trained by re­spected coach Adam Booth, Con­lan has been spar­ring the likes of Jor­dan Gill and Ryan Gar­ner – both un­beaten, highly-thought-of fighters – in prepa­ra­tion for Dos San­tos. An Olympic, World, Euro­pean (twice) and Com­mon­wealth medal­list as an am­a­teur, the switch­hit­ting star­let shoots out solid jabs, fol­lowed by rapid and hurt­ful com­bi­na­tions to head and body. The lo­cal favourite’s en­ergy and vigour should see him thrill his vo­cal fol­low­ers with an in­side-time win. The un­der­card on this Queens­berry Pro­mo­tions bill fea­tures some com­mend­able match­mak­ing. In a 10-round clash of un­de­feated south­paws,

Chor­ley’s ex-bri­tish su­per-light­weight cham­pion Jack Cat­ter­all, 21-0 (12), takes on Belfast’s Ty­rone Mckenna, 16-0-1 (6).

Since unan­i­mously outscor­ing the awk­ward Ty­rone Nurse to claim the Bri­tish belt eight months ago, Cat­ter­all has stayed busy with open­ing-frame vic­to­ries over jour­ney­man Kevin Mccauley in March and the in­con­sis­tent Christo­pher Se­bire in May. Mckenna, mean­while, is com­ing off a ca­reer-best tri­umph against for­mer English ti­tlist An­thony Up­ton in April, whom he com­pre­hen­sively out­pointed.

The rangy 6ft 1in Mckenna is six inches taller than Cat­ter­all, so will be look­ing to make use of his sig­nif­i­cant size ad­van­tage. The 28-year-old is not afraid to let his hands go, but Cat­ter­all, 24, is adept at sti­fling op­po­nents by clos­ing the dis­tance and dic­tat­ing where the fight takes place. A neat and tidy boxer with a dan­ger­ous dig, he can main­tain his high rank­ing in the WBO rat­ings by tar­get­ing the body of Mckenna and se­cur­ing an in­side-sched­ule suc­cess.

The 12-round Dublin derby be­tween old ri­vals Jono Car­roll, 15-0 (2), and

De­clan Geraghty, 17-2 (4), is sure to gen­er­ate a raucous at­mos­phere in the arena. The su­per-feath­er­weight south­paw pair pre­vi­ously col­lided in Novem­ber 2014, when they were both rel­a­tive novices. A fiery and ill-tem­pered af­fair re­sulted in Car­roll win­ning by dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion in the fourth round, after Geraghty was pun­ished for use of the

el­bow and head. At the time of the fin­ish, De­clan was ahead on the score­cards.

The only other re­verse on Geraghty’s ledger came via sixth-ses­sion stop­page in an Irish ti­tle tilt against cur­rent Euro­pean and Com­mon­wealth ruler James Ten­nyson in March 2017. A year later, the 28-year-old took the de­ci­sion in a close en­counter with the game John Quigley. Nine months prior to this, Quigley had dropped a com­pet­i­tive split ver­dict to Car­roll.

A win­ner of the light­weight Prize­fighter tour­na­ment in De­cem­ber 2014, Car­roll is yet to taste de­feat. The 26-year-old likes to press for­ward with right hooks, but is also able to counter-punch on the move with long lefts when re­quired. The same ap­plies to Geraghty, who is equally ver­sa­tile. How­ever, con­sid­er­ing the frac­tious his­tory that they share, and that lo­cal pride is at stake, it would be a sur­prise if this fight does not be­come a back-and-forth bat­tle of at­tri­tion. Both men are of­ten in­volved in ex­cit­ing scraps, so this should be a crowd-pleas­ing tus­sle. It is a tough one to call, but Car­roll is favoured to come out on top over the dis­tance.

The va­cant Celtic su­per-ban­tamweight strap is up for grabs in the 10-rounder be­tween Gor­bals’ Joe Ham, 14-0 (5), and Derry port­sider Ty­rone Mccul­lagh, 10-0 (6). The con­test also serves as an elim­i­na­tor for the Bri­tish crown, which is cur­rently held by Thomas Pa­trick Ward, who de­fends in a re­match against Jazza Dick­ens at the end of next month.

This is another dif­fi­cult bout to pre­dict, as both 27-year-old box­ers are un­beaten. Ul­ti­mately, the slightly more sea­soned Scot­tish champ Ham should have enough in his locker to over­come Mccul­lagh via the long route.

In yet another in­trigu­ing fight on this card, Ed­in­burgh’s Lewis Ben­son, 10-0 (2), and Stan­ford-le-hope’s ex-south­ern Area su­per-light­weight leader Johnny

Coyle, 18-0-1 (2), will both be aim­ing to keep hold of their ‘0s’ over eight rounds at wel­ter. South­paw Coyle, 25, has not been very ac­tive re­cently, but the April 2014 Prize­fighter 147lb king pos­sesses the skills and know-how to de­feat his 26-year-old op­po­nent on points.

THE VER­DICT Con­lan is the head­line at­trac­tion, but there are some fas­ci­nat­ing matchups on the un­der­card that de­serve at­ten­tion.

Pho­tos: MIKEY WIL­LIAMS/TOP RANK

LO­CAL FAVOURITE: A rap­tur­ous re­cep­tion awaits Con­lan in Belfast

WHIRL­WIND: Con­lan’s fast sts wreak havoc on his op­po­nents

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