Belfast could host all-Irish boxing bill behind-closed-doors in July

Paddy Gallagher hasn't fought since his controversial defeat to Chris Jenkins last August
Paddy Gallagher hasn't fought since his controversial defeat to Chris Jenkins last August

BELFAST could host an all-Irish boxing bill behind-closed-doors in July.

The Irish News has learned that preliminary preparations have begun for a show – the first in the city since February 1 - featuring Paddy Gallagher, Padraig McCrory, Lewis Crocker and Sean Duffy.

“We haven’t negotiated the fights yet but we’re looking at something for those lads as well as a few others,” said Jamie Conlan, MTK vice-president.

“We’re looking at putting together a five-fight, all-Ireland show to start off.”

Conlan says he will move cautiously as he puts together the parts which will make up the show because he has “a lot of hoops” to jump through.

He was involved in the planning for three Belfast bills which have been cancelled or postponed due to the Covid-19 lockdown. MTK Global had announced a show at The Europa Hotel on April 24 and another the following night at the Ulster Hall. Then Carl Frampton’s June 13 challenge for Jamel Herring’s WBO super-featherweight belt was also postponed.

“We have a lot of hoops to be jumped through yet but we’re working with the Board (British Boxing Board of Control) and trying to get ahead once we get a green light,” said Conlan.

“We’re looking at a few different possibilities regarding a venue. Venues have to be approved by the Board and we’re floating the ideas of TV studios, marquees, hotels and a few others things but that is ever-changing.”

Conlan added that a June date was “out of the question” and explained: “July would be the earliest to hope for but no date is set in stone.

“A mid-week show would also be a possibility because there is no competition (from other sports or events) forcing us to have it at the weekend.”

If the bill goes ahead it will be the first action Paddy Gallagher has seen since last August on the undercard of Feile an Phobail at Fall’s Park. Gallagher took on Chris Jenkins for the British and Commonwealth welterweight titles. The entertaining Belfast fighter sent Jenkins to the canvas in round six but when the fight was stopped, due to a gash over Jenkins' left eye which the referee ruled had been caused by an accidental headbutt, the Welshman got the decision; 86-85 on the scorecards of all three judges.