Boxing

Bernard McComiskey-trained prospect Jamie Douglas looks forward to professional debut

Switch-hitter Jamie Douglas on the pads at Gilford ABC
Andy Watters

FORMER Ulster senior champion Jamie Douglas makes his professional debut on the 'Celtic Clash 8' card at The Devenish Complex on Finaghy Road, Belfast on Saturday May 25.

Super-featherweight Douglas (25) started his boxing career in Eastside Gym in Belfast with Alio Wilton but a move to Lurgan meant a switch to Gilford ABC four years ago where he started working with, former pro Bernard McComiskey.

“Jamie can be elusive, he can be a fighter, he’s a lovely boxer and he’s still learning,” said McComiskey, who was the first Irishman to sign for then Matchroom chief Barry Hearn in the late 1980s and went on to an 11-1 career that included an appearance on the undercard of the legendary Steve Collins versus Chris Eubank title fight at Millstreet, Cork in 1995.

“He’s got it all and I only found out that’s left-handed when I started working with him regularly,” he added. “We’ve been working on the pads with him boxing southpaw and he’s got so comfortable with it. He definitely is a hidden gem and there’s something there to work with.

“It’s all about bringing him on the proper way but he definitely has loads of potential and natural ability and there are very few boys have it. He is hitting harder now with the daily training, he’s hitting really hard now.”

Douglas, who runs his own valeting business, is able to work around it to and train every day, twice a day and his regime includes weekly 16-mile runs up and down Slieve Croob in the Mourne Mountains..

“It’s a great wee gym,” said Douglas during a break in training at the busy Gilford ABC gym.

“Since we’ve started doing the two sessions I can really notice a massive difference in my fitness and strength, it makes all the difference. I can’t wait for the debut (it was originally scheduled for February) and I’ll just make sure I’m ready for whoever my opponent is, I just want to get stuck in and see where I go.

“I would love to fight for an Irish title, maybe a British title. I’m not going to look too far ahead but I think those things are achievable and I can get there if I train hard and stick at it and I’ll have no problem doing that.”

McComiskey was a talented welterweight who signed for Matchroom as an 18-year-old and made the daunting switch from rural county Down to London. In the 1990s he came close to making a major breakthrough but wasn’t able to force a title fight and, 20 years after his own career ended, Douglas is now his first professional protégé.

“I’m spotting things now that I probably didn’t spot when I was boxing myself,” he said.

“Day-in, day-out I spot wee things and a lot of it (training) is about mental toughness and conditioning – getting into the brain and making it work.

“I probably had the potential but I didn’t achieve what I could have. It was through no fault of own, it was just different circumstances and how my life worked out at that time. But Jamie is a bit more mature than I was, he is a man, I was a baby.

“I’ve seen it all, most of the people in boxing talk the talk but he is quiet and goes about his own business and he will do something. Me and him have a good bond and we won’t break it.”

'Celtic Clash 8' will be headlined by a west Belfast lightweight derby between Commonwealth Games silver medallist Joe Fitzpatrick and Stephen Webb. Also on the undercard are Cavan light middleweight Dominic Donegan, Larne featherweight Kelvin McDonald, Jamie Douglas, Dublin light welter Jake Hanney, Antrim town cruiserweight Conor Cooke, Derry middleweight Sean McGlinchey and Belfast pair Conor Doherty and Mathew Fitzsimons, and North Belfast super feather Ciaran McVarnock.

Tickets for the night are priced at £30 (unreserved) and £45 (ringside) and are available from all the boxers involved or online at universe.com. Owen O'Neill can be contracted through his social media or direct at 077 4505 6266.

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TYRONE McKenna says he’ll be ‘King of Ireland’ at light-welterweight when he beats Irish rival Darragh Foley for the WBC International title at the Ulster Hall on June 21.

The ever-confident ‘Mighty Celt’ (18-1-1) will earn a top 15 ranking if he can beat ‘Super’ Foley (17-3-1) and says he will then look to broaden his horizons.

“After I beat Foley, basically I’ll be crowned king of Ireland because I’ll have cleaned out the division on the island. Then I’ll be going for Europe, then the world,” he said.

“This will be a big year for me because I’ll have a ranking with the WBC and then I’ll be set for a massive fight.

“I’m going to be too quick, too smart and too strong for Foley on June 21. There’s no chance with the way I’m training, improving and generally feeling that he can beat me.

“He can train as hard as he wants and talk as much as he wants but there’s not a chance he’s beating me on the night.”

McKenna, whose career began in the USA, has already accounted for Irish rivals Anto Upton, Jake Hanney and Sean Creagh but Foley isn’t travelling north to be another ‘W’ on McKenna’s record.

“Fans can expect ‘Super’ Foley now – because that was ‘Average’ Foley in my last fight,” said England-born Foley who has fought almost exclusively in Australia since his debut back in 2013.

“I always take one fight at a time. All I’m fixated on in Tyrone McKenna. This is the most exciting Belfast v Dublin title fight on paper in 20 or 30 years and I’m up for creating history.

“I’ll walk to the middle of the ring and if he does, so be it. However it pans out tactically, I think we’re going to do something incredible in there.”

Feargal McCrory had a terrific tear-up against Karl Kelly at the Ulster Hall. Picture Mark Marlow.

FEARGAL McCrory will headline ‘The Summer Brawl’ show at the Europa Hotel on Saturday, May 18.

Undefeated McCrory (10-0), the current Irish Lightweight champion, moves back to his natural super-featherweight division to take on the experienced Yesner Talvera (15-6-1) of Nicaragua in the main event of the MHD Promotions and A McLean Bookmakers show.

Barcelona-based Talvera lost a close contest to the world-rated Devis Boschiero in Italy and will come to win at the Europa.

“I always try and rotate the main event fighters to give them the valuable experience that this brings,” explained promoter Mark Dunlop.

“After Feargal’s last contest at the Ulster Hall in February, he more than deserves the opportunity and he is grabbing it with both hands. The line-up is so talented any one of them could fill the spot.”

The exciting undercard features former world super-featherweight title challenger James Tennyson, who now campaigns at lightweight following a very successful career at featherweight and super-feather.

Cathy McAleer returns for her third contest as she chases a fourth world title in different combat codes and steps up to six rounds for the first time.

Tommy McCarthy starts to rebuild following his unsuccessful attempt to lift the WBA Intercontinental Cruiserweight title on Sky Sports in his last contest and Dublin’s undefeated super-lightweight stand-out Victor Rabei completes the five-fight line-up when he ventures North for the first time.

Tickets are priced at £80 VIP (including four-course meal) £50 (ringside), £45 (reserved), £40 (unreserved), telephone 07712473905 or email: mark@mhdpromotions.com

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