Never mind the crowd-pleasing, Jamie Conlan urged to 'do the business' ahead of Waterfront brawl
WBC International Super-Flyweight Championship: Jamie Conlan (18-0-0) v Yader Cardoza (22-10-1) (live on BoxNation, coverage starts at 7pm)
“NO wars this time Jamie – just go in and do the business”.
With his own pro debut at New York’s Madison Square Garden just over a week away, Michael Conlan won’t be at the Waterfront Hall tonight to see his big brother topping the bill again in his home city.
But the Top Rank fighter made sure to send a video message to Jamie to reinforce the point that it’s okay to win easy, just like he did last time out against Belgian David Koos.
The older Conlan brother has earned a reputation as the Irish Arturo Gatti after two barnstorming battles in the space of 12 months, the second of which – against Geordie Anthony Nelson in April 2016 – was named British Boxing Board of Control Fight of the Year.
Nine months previous Conlan looked on the brink of a first defeat as he showed remarkable guts to climb off the floor twice to edge Mexican Junior Granados on points.
Battered and bruised as he climbed the ropes to celebrate, the crowd at Dublin’s National Stadium whooped and hollered as they hailed a new hero.
Back in Belfast tonight, Conlan will be aiming to take his brother’s advice against the Nicaraguan Yader Cardoza. With only five stoppages from his 22 wins, it appears unlikely that he will have the power to trouble the man known as ‘The Mexican’.
Also, of his 10 defeats, Cardoza has been stopped in half. Conlan boxed clever against Koos last time out, but could make a statement tonight.
Chief support is Paddy Barnes, making what he calls his “proper debut” after a farcical introduction to the paid ranks at the Titanic Exhibition Centre last November.
Four rounds into a scheduled six-rounder, opponent Stefan Slavchev was disqualified by ref Hugh Russell jnr for lofting the three-time Olympian, WWE-style, onto his shoulders.
And if yesterday’s weigh-in is anything to go by, tonight’s opponent looks a lively character too.
Argentine Adrian Dimas Garzon, sporting the type of mullet that can only be pulled off by a certain kind of man, kept his fluorescent yellow-rimmed sunglasses on when all else - barring boxer shorts – had been discarded.
“Go on ahead McGregor,” roared one punter from the back, before MC Mark Burdis joined the party.
“There you go folks,” said the familiar voice of BoxNation fight nights, “an Argentinian wearing sunglasses in Belfast. How bad is that?”
“Wee buns Paddy, wee buns,” came another shout as the fighters went eye to lens.
Considering there were weight-drained boxers milling about the Waterfront at every turn, talking about buns mightn’t have been the wisest move.
Bill-topper Conlan counts Garzon among his victims, having forced a fourth round stoppage in November 2015, and Barnes is determined to close the show even earlier. With his relentless, all-action style, you wouldn’t bet against him.
Elsewhere on the bill, heavy-hitting Lewis Crocker makes his long awaited pro debut against Ferenc Jarko, while Marco McCullough warms up for his May British title showdown with Ryan Walsh when he takes on Spain’s Lionel Hernandez.
Tyrone McKenna and Jake Hanney had to be separated on the stage at yesterday’s weigh-in ahead of their Boxing Union of Ireland Celtic super-lightweight fight.
First fight at 5pm
Middleweight: Troy Williamson v Casey Blair
Welterweight: Lewis Crocker v Ferenc Jarko
Welterweight: Gary Corcoran v James Gorman
Featherweight: Marco McCullough v Lionel Hernandez
Heavyweight: Sean Turner v Kamil Sokolowski
Super-lightweight: Phil Sutcliffe jnr v Miguel Aguilar
Heavyweight: Con Sheehan v Ferenc Zsalek
Light-Heavyweight: Steven Ward v TBA
Super-lightweight: Tyrone McKenna v Jake Hanney
Super-featherweight: Declan Geraghty v James Tennyson
Flyweight: Paddy Barnes v Adrian Dimas Garzon
Super-flyweight: Jamie Conlan v Yader Cardoza
TENNYSON AND GERAGHTY HOPE TO STEAL THE SHOW
THEY may be third on the bill, but James Tennyson and Declan Geraghty both believe their all-Irish showdown can steal the show at the Waterfront tonight.
It is an unusual, but extremely welcome, move to pit two up-and-coming talents against each other at this stage of their careers but Tennyson (17-2-0) versus Geraghty (14-1-0) has the makings of a classic.
The pair never met during their amateur days, the closest they got was being on opposite sides of the draw at the Irish U22 Championships, with the bookies making Dubliner Geraghty a slight favourite.
Tennyson, though, is fighting is front of his home fans.
And he is confident that, having moved up to super-feather after coming up short in his British title shot against Ryan Walsh last year, this fight will mark a new chapter in his career.
“I’m excited – I know it’s going to be a great fight,” said the 23-year-old.
“Going into the Walsh fight, it was a roll of the dice. I knew I would be tight for weight, I just didn’t know how tight but it didn’t pay off for me. It was a career-worst performance.
“But this is the kind of fight I need. There’s only so long you can go blowing journeymen away, you need these fights to progress your career.
“Match-ups like this are what will bring big fight nights back to Belfast.”
‘Pretty Boy’ Geraghty agrees, but feels there will be only one winner when all is said and done.
He said: “I believe I’m going to beat him all day long and I’m sure he believes the same.
“I thought he did well in the Walsh fight, he wore his heart on his sleeve but I believe I’ll get the job done and it’ll be a bonus if it’s within 10 rounds.”