Jamie Conlan wary of Julias Kisarawe challenge as final eliminator looms
WITH a final eliminator for the world title confirmed for next year, Jamie Conlan intends to box to plan when he defends his Commonwealth super-flyweight title against Tanzanian Julias Kisarawe at the Titanic Exhibition Centre on November 5.
Unbeaten ‘Mexican’ (17-0) Conlan faces a tricky test against the experienced African (22-3-1) whose one stoppage loss came against Thailand’s Prasitsak Papoem who has progressed to a showdown against former Paddy Barnes foe Shiming Zou for the WBO World flyweight title, also on November 5.
“He’s a counter-puncher - good right uppercut and good back hand,” Conlan said.
“He’s tall and lean and he can whack a bit - he tries to draw you on to his shots. It should be a good fight.”
Conlan hasn’t fought in his native Belfast since September 2014 when he appeared on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s ‘Titanic Showdown’ world title win against Kiko Martinez.
Since then, he has swapped John Breen’s Grosvenor Road gym for the MGM stable in Marbella and, as ever, seems to be one step away from a long-awaited world title shot.
He has been involved in some toe-to-toe wars in recent fights - he won the Commonwealth title in a barnburner of a scrap against Anthony Nelson which has since been confirmed as ‘fight of the year’ - but this time he says he’ll box to a plan.
“This one, I should listen to the instructions and keep it at the same pace,” he said.
“The guy doesn’t really fight at a high pace - he relies on you and then tries to counteract you, so I’ll have to dictate the pace. I have big things planned - behind the scenes there’s something great on the line - so I have to listen to orders for this fight and stick to the gameplan that we’ve worked on.
“A final eliminator for the world title is confirmed and we have to pick the date of when we want to go. It’ll be in Belfast and I’m hoping to have this fight and then another fight before it to build the audience and then have a massive night in the Odyssey Arena with me, Paddy and the return of my brother [Michael Conlan].”
Japan’s Naoya Inoue currently holds the WBO super-flyweight title and Conlan could be in with unbeaten Hong Kong southpaw Rex Tso in the eliminator.
Of course, to get a shot at the title he has to keep winning beginning on November 5 as the headline act on a star-studded bill that also includes Marc McCullough.
“The talent on the show and the fights that are getting made are brilliant,” said Conlan.
“They’re really trying to go all out and I think it’s a sign of things to come with Frank Warren. He wants to create a boom again with boxing in Belfast, he wants everybody to be talking about it and the only way you can get talking about it is by putting on a good show with good 50-50 match-ups.
“Boxing fans in Belfast aren’t stupid - they can smell a bad bill a mile away and they won’t come back. Every fighter on the bill is out to make a statement and try and try and prove a point because if the bill is a success we’ll get more of them here.”
There are also three debutants on the bill - Barnes, Lewis Crocker and Stephen Ward: “That’s a great sign of things to come,” said Conlan.
“Irish amateur boxing has been amazing over the last few years and the boxers on the bill are able to show their talents off to a wider audience and get some exposure on TV. They’ll all bring their own fan base so it’s brilliant, it’s a great sign of things to come.”
SHANE McGUIGAN fighter Josh Taylor said he’d never take off his Commonwealth super-lightweight belt after his impressive fifth-round stoppage of durable Dave Ryan at Meadowbank last Friday night.
The former Commonwealth Games gold medal winner, managed by former world champion Barry McGuigan, hadn’t gone beyond two rounds in his previous six successful fights.
However, he used the third round in Edinburgh to floor the more experienced man from Derby with a powerful body shot, stunned him at the end of the fourth with a similar dig, then finished him off in the fifth with referee Michael Alexander stepping in to prevent further punishment.
“It's better [than winning Commonwealth gold],” said Taylor.
“It’s the best, sweetest victory of my career so far. I think I’m the first British fighter to win it so quickly in his career. That's an achievement in itself, I'm on cloud nine and I'm proud as punch.
“I'm going to go out for days with this belt round my waist. I'll never take it off. I'll sleep with it on and everything. It's very satisfying and I was happy with my performance.”
Barry McGuigan had previously mentioned Scottish great, Ken Buchanan, who was at ringside, when talking about Taylor's potential: “I knew I could do it. I knew from the day I signed on the dotted line with Barry that I could go to the top," he added.
“I know I'm at that level already although with it being so early in my career there was big pressure - it's Barry saying I'm going to be the next best thing since Ken Buchanan. I just take that with a pinch of salt.
“Now, I'll possibly be out at Wembley Arena on the George Groves undercard [November 18]. It's pretty soon, I will see how I feel and see how my team feel and see what they think is best. I'll be ready to go whatever.”
PADDY BARNES will make his professional debut against journeyman Brett Fidoe (6-31-2) at the Titanic exhibition centre in Belfast on November 5.
Two-time Olympic Games bronze-medallist and Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Barnes is part of a undercard bursting at the seams with Irish talent.
Fidoe has lost his last nine, but he has been in with some good names during his 39-fight career including Andrew Selby, Kevin Satchell and Charlie Edwards.
JASON QUIGLEY will face Puerto Rican big-hitter Jorge Melendez (29-7-1) at The Forum in Inglewood, California on Saturday, December 17.
Melendez, a fellow Golden Boy fighter, has 27 KO wins on his card and the 10-rounder will feature on the undercard of Bernard Hopkins’ farewell performance against ‘The Irish Bomber’ Joe Smith Jnr.
Quigley has fought twice in 2016. He recorded a knockout win against Freddie Lopez in March before going 10 rounds in against battle-hardened James De La Rosa on the Sual Alavarez v Amir Khan undercard in May.
The Ballybofey star was due to appear on the Alvarez v Liam Smith undercard last month, but was forced off with a minor wrist injury.
FRANKIE GAVIN says he wants to fight Sam Eggington again after his Birmingham rival stopped him in Saturday night’s all-Brummie showdown.
“I didn't realise how big he was,” said Gavin, who was stopped after eight rounds.
“Great credit to Sam, we were friends before the fight and you get dislike for someone who wants to punch your head off, but we're friends again. It was a good fight. I showed I can have a fight. I want to do it again.”
A delighted Eggington added: “I can't explain it, I'm over the moon. Me and Frankie had a bit of needle, but it's fine again now.”
Gavin was dropped in the third round and given a standing count in the sixth before Eggington finally prevailed. Former Irish light-welterweight champion Gavin has lost European and world title challenges.
He had declared this a make-or-break contest and his decision to meet the big-punching Eggington in the centre of the ring failed to pay off.