Falls Park in Belfast hosts a night of action packed full of talent this Friday night, with local hero Michael Conlan taking on former world champion, TJ Doheny, over twelve rounds for the WBA interim featherweight title in the main event.
2016 Olympian Conlan (15-0, 8 KOs) has made steady progress since turning professional in March 2017, and will look to add the name of former IBF champion Doheny (22-2, 16 KO) to his ledger as he looks to move into world title contention.
The 29-year-old is the number one ranked contender with the WBO at super bantamweight and is rated at four with the WBA at featherweight having operated at both weights in his four year pro career, which has seen him avenge his bitter and controversial loss at the Rio Olympics to Vladimir Nikitin.
Since then, the Belfast man stopped former world title challenger, Sofiane Takoucht in the tenth and final round of their August 2020 meeting, and, last time out, Conlan was given a tough test by Ionut Baluta, before taking the vacant WBO International strap via majority decision.
After a pretty anonymous career based mostly in his adopted home country of Australia, Doheny spectacularly came to prominence in August 2018, when he travelled to Japan to take a deserved win on the cards against Ryosuke Iwasa to take the IBF super bantamweight title.
‘The Power’ defended once, stopping Ryohei Takahashi in 11 rounds, before shipping his belt in a unification loss to then WBA ‘Super’ champion, Daniel Roman.
After a comeback win, Doheny was last out in March last year, and he was stunned over eight against common opponent, Ionut Baluta, who took a deserved points win.
Prediction: Conlan needs some sort of statement win, as he chases the big names in the division, but Doheny is a reliable customer, well used to going the distance. I expect him to last here too, but Conlan can stick to his boxing, and take a wide enough win after a dozen rounds to remain unbeaten.
McGregor defends European title
Heading the undercard is the exciting to watch Lee McGregor and the Scot defends his European bantamweight title for the first time against unbeaten Frenchman, Vincent Legrand.
McGregor (10-0, 8 KOs) is one of the hottest prospects in the UK, and he won the belt in ruthless fashion in March, dropping Karim Guerfi multiple times on the way to a first round win. He now faces Legrand (32-0, 17 KOs), a former two-time European champion at flyweight, but with a heavily padded record.
Since winning European honours for a second time in 2018, Legrand has boxed five times, all in scheduled six rounders.
Prediction: I can’t make a case for Legrand here, and I expect McGregor to take care of business in ruthless fashion before halfway.
Tyrone McKenna (21-2-1, 6 KOs) returns to action after his 2020 MTK Golden Contract final defeat to Ohara Davies, and ‘The Mighty Celt’ takes on Mexico’s Jose Felix (39-4-1, 30 KOs) over a scheduled ten, with the vacant WBO Intercontinental super lightweight title the prize for the victor.
Prediction: Felix has lost three of his last seven, and, providing McKenna can withstand the expected early onslaught from the visitor, the Irishman can take a clear points win.
At super middleweight, Padraig McCrory (11-0, 5 KOs) challenges Sergei Gorokhov (11-2-2, 7 KOs) for the Russian’s WBC International silver title over ten.
McCrory steps up past eight round level for the first time, while Gorokhov has been the ten round distance four times in his career.
Prediction: McCrory can take a points win here.
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Sean McComb (11-1, 5 KOs) returns following a first career loss last time out, and the lightweight meets Argentina’s Vicente Martin Rodriguez (39-6-1, 21 KOs).
Prediction: ’Public Nuisance’ McComb was halted in seven by Gavin Gwynne in a Commonwealth title bid, and he should be able to come back and take a win on the scorecards to get back in the winner’s enclosure.
At super featherweight, Callum Bradley (4-0) should have a tough nights’ work against the ever reliable Brett Fidoe (15-65-5, 7 KOs), but can come through over the distance, while in a battle of unbeatens, James McGivern (2-0) should be able to do the same in his lightweight affair with Sean Gerard Duffy (4-0, 2 KOs).
Paddy Donovan (6-0, 4 KOs), Fearghus Quinn (2-0), and debutant Cain Lewis are also all in action on a stacked card.