The SSE Arena in Belfast is the setting for Michael Conlan to return to action this Saturday evening, and the hometown hero tackles former three-time world title challenger, Miguel Marriaga at the top of the bill.
FITE TV televise Conlan vs Marriaga live in the UK, whilst ESPN+ will broadcast the bill in the USA.
Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) had made solid enough strides after turning professional in 2017, ending his amateur career after a controversial defeat at the 2016 Olympics.
Several fringe contenders were defeated by the Belfast man, and that led to a shot at the WBA featherweight title in March this year against Nottingham’s Leigh Wood.
The 30-year-old began as warm favourite to defeat Wood in the champion’s own backyard, and after he dropped him in the opening round, and largely dominated by halfway.
After Conlan was contentiously counted in the 11th round, he was ahead on all three cards going into the final frame, but would leave heartbroken, as Wood found a monster shot to knock him out of the ring and ending contest in a last round defeat.
He now returns against Marriaga (30-5, 26 KOs), a man who has been in with, and lost to, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oscar Valdez and Nicholas Walters in world title fights.
The 35-year-old has only been stopped once, retiring against the gifted Lomachenko, and is durable.
‘The Scorpion’ has lost two of his last three, and was dropped on the way to a wide points defeat to Eduardo Ramirez in his last contest last December.
Prediction: It will be interesting to see how Conlan deals with such a psychologically damaging defeat in his last fight, and I think he may adopt a safety first approach to get him through here. He should be able to stay out of trouble, and win widely on the cards.
McCorry meets Periban
Padraig McCrory defends his WBC International Silver super middleweight title on the bill, and the Belfast man meets the faded, former world title challenger Marco Antonio Periban over a scheduled ten rounds.
McCrory (13-0, 7 KOs) won the belt in August last year, and defended with a second round stoppage of Celso Neves in his last fight last November.
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Periban (26-5-1, 17 KOs), who has lost to the likes of James DeGale and Joshua Buatsi, revived his career with an 11th round stoppage of Gabriel Garcia in April.
Prediction: McCrory should set a high enough pace for the Mexican to withdraw from battle around halfway.
Tyrone McKenna also sees action, and ‘The Mighty Celt’ is in with former British and Commonwealth champion, Chris Jenkins over a scheduled ten rounds at welterweight.
McKenna (22-3-1, 6 KOs) was last seen in March, stopped in six by former world champion Regis Prograis, while Jenkins (23-5-3, 8 KOs) was halted in four by Florian Marku in April.
Prediction: McKenna is the fresher man, and can take a points win.
Paddy Donovan (8-0, 6 KOs) is still only 23-years-old, and the Limerick welterweight should have too much for Tom Hill (10-2, 2 KOs) and should grab another early win in this scheduled eight rounder.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 31, 2022
In another eight round contest, Ruadhan Farrell (3-0, 2 KOs) can claim the vacant Celtic featherweight title with a points win over fellow unbeaten, Colm Murphy (4-0, 1 KO).