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Boxing

Alfredo Meli a man on a mission on busy weekend for Belfast fight scene

Alfredo Meli takes on durable Hungarian Laszlo Fazekas at the Devenish Complex on Finaghy Road North tonight
Andy Watters

A BUSY weekend on the Belfast fight scene begins at the Devenish Complex tonight where Ciaran McVarnock, Alfredo Meli and Tyrone McCullagh head the quality cast on what should be an entertaining Ginley Promotions bill.

The action continues at the Shorts Sports & Social Club tomorrow night in a ground-breaking pro-am show. The card is headlined by the Wilton brothers, Matthew and Luke and the Prospect Boxing/Team Allio promotion also includes unbeaten middleweight Tony Nellins, the return of Lurgan's southpaw switch-hitter Ryan Greene and eight amateur contests featuring some exciting new talent.

This time last year Alfredo Meli was forced to pull out of a Commonwealth title eliminator with Sam Sheedy over issues with a pre-fight brain scan. Those issues have since been resolved and mechanic Meli returned to action with the 12th win of his career in December.

Tonight's bill at the Devenish is his first since signing for Matt Macklin's MTK (formerly MGM) stable and the Immaculata ABC middleweight faces off against durable Hungarian Laszlo Fazekas.

Well-travelled Fazekas has been in some good company in the past – he went the distance with Paulie Malinaggi (who takes on Sam Eggington for the WBC International welterweight title tomorrow night) back in September 2015. Meli still hasn't given up his day job and he doesn't intend to hang around as phase two of his career begins.

“He'll be a good test but sure there's no point messing around any more,” he said during a break from working on a car yesterday.

“I want to kick on. I didn't even look at his record, I just took the fight and said ‘aye, happy days'.

“What somebody has done before doesn't bother me, I just do the fighting.”

His coach, legendary west Belfast boxing doyen ‘Nugget' Nugent, will have done his homework on Fazekas. The Hungarian has 26 losses on his record but has only been stopped three times and is a regular winner back in his homeland.

“Training has been going good,” he said.

“I'm flat-out as always getting ready for the fight. I'm still at the 'Mac of course and I'm hoping for a busy year. I'm feeling 100 per cent and looking forward to the fight and then celebrating after.”

Meli recovered from a first round knockdown to draw a Celtic middleweight clash with Conrad Cummings in November 2015 and admits he has “ground to make up”.

“I'll do whatever I can and see what comes out of it,” he said.

“The Macklins are good. They gave me want I wanted, I'm allowed to stay at home and training away so everything is working out well.”

Meanwhile, tomorrow night David Haye and Tony Bellew will translate their bitter war of words into a vitriol-fuelled battle in the ring at the O2 Arena in London.

At yesterday's final press conference Haye warned Bellew to “enjoy his last couple of days” ahead of the heavyweight clash.

Shane McGuigan-trained ‘Hayemaker' (36) has already been criticised for the severity of his threats ahead of their match-up and the British Boxing Board of Control also plan to discuss the fact he called sections of fans presents at Monday's press conference "f****** retards", for which he has already insisted he will not apologise.

Haye has frequently made controversial comments as he engages in mind games with his opponents, but unlike on Monday he appeared calm when he said: "Enjoy your last days.

“There's not going to be another day: this is the last day for you. That's it: it's over,” he said.

“I'm legally allowed to do as much damage (to) him as I can inflict for 36 minutes with 10oz gloves on.”

Tonight, Devenish Complex, Belfast:

Lightweight: Ciaran McVarnock (6-0-1) v Antonio Horvatic (10-31)

Middleweight: Alfredo Meli (12-0-1) v Laszlo Fazekas (30-26-1)

Super-lightweight: Anthony Upton (13-1) v Zaurs Sadihovs (4-14)

Super-bantamweight: Tyrone McCullagh (5-0) v Michael Barnor (14-8-2) Lightweight: Stephen Ormond (23-3) v Norwin Galo (7-7)

Cruiserweight: Ian Tims (12-3) v Florians Strupits (3-41-3)

Heavyweight: Sean Turner (9-0) v Kamil Sokolowski (2-9-2)

Tomorrow night, Shorts Sports & Social Club, Belfast:

Welterweight: Matthew Wilton (14-0) v Brett Fidoe (6-33-2)

Super Flyweight: Luke Wilton (16-5-1) v TBA

Middleweight: Tony Nellins (3-0) v Ross Jameson (1-7)

Middleweight: Ryan Greene (6-1) v Liam Griffiths (5-70-1)

For tickets, pay at the door or contact any of the fighters.

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