Jamie Conlan promises fireworks at Waterfront Hall fight night

Jamie Conlan has promised 'controlled fireworks' at the Waterfront Hall on Saturday night
Andy Watters

JAMIE Conlan promises “controlled fireworks” when he headlines Friday’s fight night at the Waterfront Hall.

‘The Mexican’ - ranked two with the WBO and nine with the IBF – intends to scale the WBC rankings when he collides with Nicaragua’s former world title challenger Yader Cardoza for the International Silver Super-flyweight strap, live on BoxNation.

With a world title challenge beckoning at last, 30-year-old Conlan knows there is no margin for error.

“Hopefully a great performance on Friday will lead to a huge fight against a big name at a massive arena,” says the reigning Commonwealth champion (18-0).

The 8st 3lb division is awash with talent at present, with pound-for-pound contenders Roman Gonzalez (WBC) and Naoya Inoue (WBO) already world champions and Birmingham’s Kal Yafai – who had been linked with Conlan a couple of years ago - in possession of the WBA strap.

There is talk that Inoue could be moving up to challenge WBC bantamweight champion (Shinsuke Yamanaka) and that could leave an opening for the vacant WBO title. Now in his eighth year as a pro, Conlan would relish the chance to fight for the belt.

“I’ve been world rated for a wee while now so it’s a bit frustrating but you just have to keep focussing, set small short-term goals and then tick them off,’ says the Danny Vaughan-coached fighter.

“But I leave it all to my team. They’re biding their time but I’ve every confidence they’ll deliver. I’m a strong believer in letting the fighter fight, the trainer train, the manager manage and the promoter promote. We all have our job to do.”

After 28 months on the road, the MTK fighter returned to Belfast last November with a routine eight-round points win over Hungarian David Koos at the Titanic Exhibition Centre. Friday’s assignment promises to be much more challenging.

“Last time, it was nice to keep busy but the camp was more beneficial than the fight. I’ve not even watched the tape back,” said Conlan who co-headlined a show with Marc McCullough at the Waterfront Hall back in 2014 when he stopped Gabor Molnar to win the WBO European super flyweight title..

“I just kept on the jab and listened to the corner, ticked the boxes Danny wanted me to tick. Now I’ve got a proper fight and I have to show improvement.”

His opponent Cardoza, a 28 year old from the fine fighting nation that has given us Alexis Arguello, Ricardo Mayorga and Roman Gonzalez, is a veteran of 33 starts across an eight year career that peaked with a May 2013 challenge for the WBC light-flyweight title.

“I’ve watched him on tape and he’s relentless; far more Ricardo Mayorga than Arguello or ‘Chocolalito’,” said Conlan.

“His record suggests he’s not the biggest puncher but he throws some wicked shots. He’s very tough and quite unpredictable; dirty with his head and elbows. I’m expecting an exciting fight but I’ve got to stick to my game plan.

“But to remain relevant, to keep in the thoughts and words of the fans and media, I have to shine. There’s a very strong undercard but mine should still be the fight to stand out. Expect controlled fireworks.”

Waterfront Hall, Belfast

WBC International Silver super flyweight title: Jamie Conlan (18-0) v Yader Cardoza (22-10-1)

Irish super featherweight title: Declan Geraghty (14-1) v James Tennyson (17-2)

Super-Lightweight: Tyrone McKenna (12-0-1) v Jake Hanney (5-0)

Heavyweight: Con Sheehan (4-0) v Ferenc Zsalek (19-55-6)

Featherweight: Marco McCullough (16-3) v Leonel Hernandez (10-19-2)

Super-Lightweight: Philip Sutcliffe jnr (12-1) v Nelson Altamirano (10-13-2)

Flyweight: Paddy Barnes (1-0) v Adrian Dimas Garzon (10-21)

Super-lightweight: Phil Sutcliffe jnr (12-1) v Lee Gillespie (7-1)

Featherweight: Marco McCullough (16-3) v TBC

Heavyweight: Con Sheehan (4-0) v TBC

Middleweight: Troy Williamson (2-0) v TBC

Light-heavyweight: Steven Ward (2-0) v Streby Margai (debut)

Welterweight: Lewis Crocker (debut) v TBC

TONY Bellew is considering retirement in the wake of his inglorious victory over David Haye last Saturday night.

The Liverpool fighter, who had stepped up to heavyweight for what had been billed as a 'grudge match', stopped his heavily-injured opponent in what was a bizarre spectacle at the 02 Arena.

Haye ruptured his Achilles midway through the fight, limiting his ability to move and protect himself. But he was allowed to continue leading to near farcical scenes as he hopped around the ring on one leg unable to land or avoid the punishing shots Bellew threw as he punched himself out.

Not one second before time, Haye's chief second Shane McGuigan finally through the towel in in the 11th round to bring a halt to an unedifying spectacle after 'the Hayemaker' had been sent sprawling through the ropes.

Afterwards the fighters, sworn enemies before the bout, quickly patched things up in an old-pals act and there was even talk of a rematch in the future. It is difficult to see there being any appetite for a repeat, particularly with Haye injured and Bellew talking about hanging up his gloves.

"I don't know how many times more I can put my body and family through this,” Bellew said.

“It (retirement) is an option. It's something I'm thinking about.”

Promoter Eddie Hearn says Bellew has up to five fights left in him and in the immediate aftermath of his win, Bellew spoke about another switch to the heavyweight division, talking about fights with current belt holders Deontay Wilder and Joseph Parker.

Bellew - who broke his right hand early in the fight - says he has a number of options if he decides to postpone retirement.

“If people want to come and talk to me... I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it will have to be something special,” he added.

“I am the best heavyweight in the world outside the champions, and none of them have a name like David Haye on their record, so what does that mean?”

It was announced on Sunday night that Haye has undergone surgery on his Achilles.

A statement from the fighter's representatives read: “David underwent surgery to his right Achilles this afternoon, after completely rupturing the tendon during Saturday night's fight with Tony Bellew.

“David would like to thank everyone for their many messages of support, as well as the staff at the hospital.”

Karl Moore (second from right) won the Cage Fighters light-heavyweight title at 3Arena in Dublin last Saturday night

EMERGING MMA fighter Karl Moore has his sights on the UFC stage after he won the Cage Warriors light-heavyweight world title at the 3Arena in Dublin on Saturday night.

Twenty-four Twinbrook scrapper Moore (8-1), who fights out of the Fight Academy Ireland Gym in Poleglass, dominated American Josh Clark over five tough rounds to take the title and experienced coach Liam Shannon has tipped him to follow in the footsteps of groundbreaking Dubliner ‘The Notorious’ Connor McGregor.

“They’re all talking like he’s going to be the next McGregor,” said Shannon.

“The belt he won is just under a UFC world title and the last guy to hold it is the current UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping.

“We don’t know whether he’ll be able to defend the belt or whether that’ll be him called into the UFC now. He was on the reserve list for the UFC show in Belfast at heavyweight and we’re assuming that he’ll be in now because they can’t ignore the fact that he’s a world champion.

“He’s not predominantly a boxer, or a grappler – he has the full tools.”

Shannon has moulded Moore – 6’2” and 93kg - from a street-fighting teenager to the verge of the UFC and he expects him to have a successful future at the elite level.

“He came into the gym as a young kid – overweight and out of shape,” he explained.

“He had fallen in with a bad crowd. He was fighting out in the streets at 15-16 years-of-age and his dad wanted to get him into something to get him off the streets – to channel him into something.

“He was a big, heavy kid and he has lost about seven stone with us. He’s a monster now.”


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