Boxing

Steven Ward ready for war as Liam Conroy arrives for Ulster Hall battle

Steven Ward takes on Liam Conroy at the Ulster Hall on Friday night
Padraig O Meiscill

A BRITISH light-heavyweight title clash with reigning champion Joshua Buatsi looks certain to be the prize for Steven Ward if he comes through against Liam Conroy in their showdown for the vacant WBO European Light Heavyweight title at the Ulster Hall on Friday night.

Conroy (17-4-1) was knocked out by hard-hitting Buatsi after three rounds of their British title rumble and hopes to recover lost ground against ‘The Quiet Man’. Englishman Conroy is busy, game and confident and will certainly give Ward the biggest test of his career so far.

“I suppose this is a clash of the nice guys,” said the unbeaten Belfast man.

“It’s how I carry myself 365 days of the year but there’ll be no nice guys inside the ring. Outside the ring, there’s no point in me calling him names. If I do that, I’d get a slap off my Mum as soon as I walked into her house! She doesn’t stand for any of that.

“I know Liam is coming for the belt and I believe we’ll bring the best out of each other. I’m really up for this.”

Conroy countered: “You won’t see any different side from me. I respect Steven as a boxer and I respect him as a man.

“We’re similar in that we don’t go talking rubbish and I can’t see either of us doing it this time. I’ll simply come in and do my best to win that title.

“I never take anything personally in this sport. It’s just business to me but I’ll be very hungry to get the victory on the night.”

Friday night’s bill.

WBC International Super-lightweight title: Tyrone McKenna (18-1-1) v Darragh Foley (17-13-1) Vacant WBO European Light Heavyweight title: Steven Ward (11-0) v Liam Conroy (17-4-1)

Welterweight: Lewis Crocker (8-0) v Karim Aliliche (11-8-2)

Welterweight: Paddy Gallagher (15-5) v Liam Wells (5-0)

Middleweight: Caoimhin Agyarko (3-0) v TBC

Super-welterweight: Owen O'Neill (1-0) v TBC

Super-middleweight: Taylor McGoldrick (3-0) v TBC

JASON Quigley (16-0) will defend his NABF middleweight title against Tureano Johnson (20-2-1) in Las Vegas on July 18.

Quigley defeated Glen Tapia in March 2017 to win the NABF middleweight strap and defended with a defeat of Freddy Hernandez in October 2018.

“It’s always exciting when there’s a belt on the line,” said the Donegal man.

“The belt is like a piece of furniture in the house and no-one will take it away easy. These are stepping stones to where I want to get and these are the belts that will help me get the one I really want.

“I was in LA recently and met with Golden Boy Promotions and we have a three-or-four-fight plan now to get to a world title.

“I’m on an amazing journey and to be possibly three fights away from a world title fight is so exciting things for everyone following me.

“Every professional boxer wants their hands on a belt. It’s brilliant to have a belt, but I’m searching and driving for world title belts.”

Quigley, who trains under Dominic Ingle in Sheffield, England, will fight for the seventh time as a professional at Fantasy Springs.

The Killybegs native, managed by Sheer Sports Management in Los Angeles, believes his fight against Johnson will help put him under big spotlights.

He said: “I’m very excited where I’m going. I’m coming near the pinnacle of my career and this is the exciting part of it.

“I’m moving forward and progressing. I’m ready for action again. I’m excited now to get my title chase up and running.”

CRUISERWEIGHT Tommy McCarthy will challenge undefeated Italian cruiserweight champion Fabio Turchi (17- 0) for his WBC International Cruiserweight title in Rome on July 11.

Lenadoon native McCarthy doesn’t lack ability but losses to Matty Askin and, in March, Richard Riakporhe have stalled his progress and he needs a win over Turchi, who goes into the contest on the back of back-to-back knockout wins over Tony Conquest and Sami Enborn, to kick on in his career.

“Victory over the well-rated Turchi will put big Tommy back up where he belongs and he is ready to grab this opportunity with both hands,” said promoter Mark Dunlop.

“Tommyy has been training hard in Denmark following his comeback victory at the Europa Hotel last month with this fight already agreed.

“This is Tommy's big chance and he has got to take it. It was disappointing when he lost to Richard Riakporhe in his bid to become the WBA Inter-Continental champion and this is a tough test for him.

“But if he fires on the night it could be the springboard he needs to bigger and better fights.”

CATHY McAleer takes on Scotland’s Commonwealth bantamweight champion Kristen Frazer at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Saturday, September 28.

Former Down Ladies’ star and World Karate and Kickboxing champion McAleer is determined to add the prestigious title to her collection while cementing her name in Irish boxing history when she takes on the strong and talented undefeated champion from Aberdeen.

"It is great to get a title ?ght like this in Belfast,” said promoter Mark Dunlop.

“Cathy has shown she has the ability to go far and this is the kind of chance she has been looking for. If she performs on the night Cathy will be the new Commonwealth champion.”

Also featuring on the card is the hard hitting 'Assassin' James Tennyson who will meet Gavin Gwynne (10-0) in a final eliminator for the British lightweight title in his next fight and victory would see him become mandatory for current British champion Joe Cordina. Coalisland’s undefeated Irish champion Feargal McCrory 11-0 is also on the bill.

“Feargal is getting better and better in each ?ght and a title shot will be on the cards for him in the near future," said Dunlop.

TYSON Fury's manager Frank Warren has questioned rival Anthony Joshua's ability to regain his place among the world's leading heavyweight boxers.

Warren urged the Londoner not to take a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr, who defeated him in New York earlier this month as a late replacement following Jarrell Miller's positive drug test.

"I do have my doubts," Warren told BBC 5 Live's Sportsweek. "I don't think he should take the rematch. Maybe he should take some time out and regroup, I don't know.

"That's his decision. But he'll be fighting a guy who next time will have more than five weeks' notice and go into a proper training camp.

"I'm not going to say or make any predictions about the shape of his body, but he's got fast hands and I believe he's got Joshua's number.

"He's taken Joshua's best shot and he knows he has the punching power to do damage to Anthony Joshua."

Warren said he did not know who Fury will fight next, but that it would be someone "in the top five" - adding that he expects the British boxer to fight American Deontay Wilder early next year.

Fury said after his second-round stoppage of Germany's Tom Schwarz in Las Vegas on Saturday night that dates of September 21 or October 5 had been agreed in principle for his next bout.

"First of all we'll see who's available and we'll work on that over the next week and we'll make it happen," Warren said. "I genuinely do not have a name at the moment.

"It's highly probable that (Wilder v Fury) fight will happen early next year.

"I can't go into the details. I don't think the problem is the money, all parties want to make this fight happen."

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