HE’S COMING HOME
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
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.
LOCAL FAVOURITE: A rapturous reception awaits Conlan in Belfast
WHIRLWIND: Conlan’s fast sts wreak havoc on his opponents