Boxing

Donovan to headline at Europa fight night as Tiernan Bradley makes Irish debut * Tommy McCarthy vows to bounce back from Billam-Smith loss

Omagh boxer Tiernan Bradley makes his Irish debut at the Europa Hotel on Saturday night
Andy Watters

ERIC Donovan headlines the bill as MHD Promotions continue their fight night series at the Europa Hotel on Saturday night with ‘Redemption'.

Irish featherweight champion Donovan takes on Nicaraguan contender Engel Gomez in an intriguing contest.

‘Lilywhite Lightning' Donovan is looking to redeem himself and kick on to a European title challenge following his third round TKO loss to double Olympic champion Robeisy Ramirez at Glasgow's Hydro Arena back in February where the contest was chief support to undisputed super lightweight Josh Taylor versus Jack Catterall.

Chief support on the bill, in association with Bet McLean, comes from emerging south Belfast talent Colm ‘Posh Boy' Murphy who is making great strides in his first year as a professional. Murphy is looking for win number three and a further climb up the ratings when he faces South American Brayan Maireana at featherweight.

Maireana has only failed to hear the final bell three times in 38 contests having mixed it with the very best in Europe since his arrival to this continent and will be aiming to take the undefeated record from the 22-year-old Murphy.

Ruadhan Farrell returns to the scene of his impressive March debut victory in when he squares up to the experiences Luke Fash of Leeds over four three-minute rounds.

Graham McCormack brings good support up from Limerick and hopes to get back to winning ways against Seamus Devlin of Manchester in what he hopes will be a contest that can take him back to title opportunities.

The long-awaited home debut of Omagh's former amateur stand-out and Conor McGregor sparring partner Tiernan Bradley rounds up the line-up with a six-round welterweight contest against Janos Penzez of Hungary.

“We are delighted to be back at the iconic Europa Hotel for our second show of the year,” said Diane Dunlop.

“It's been a hard few years for boxing in general and I have been working hard for my lads and keeping them active, we have travelled far and wide to do this but hopefully the worst is over.”

Mark Dunlop added: “Developing local talent and getting them great opportunities has always been the goal at MHD Boxing. This is our 10th year in Belfast so our record speaks volumes, the support from local fight fans has been amazing.”

Tickets £100 (including four-course meal), £70 (reserved ringside), £50 (general admission): Telephone 07712 473905 or email info@mhdpromotions.com. First fight is at 8pm.

THE dust has settled on the disappointment of losing his rematch to Chris Billam-Smith last month and Tommy McCarthy now intends to come back stronger.

Cruiserweight McCarthy had lost the first meeting on a disputed split-decision but Billam-Smith was superior second time around and he stopped the Belfast man in the eighth round in Manchester. After taking time to reflect, 31-year-old McCarthy has come to terms with the loss and is determined to put it behind him.

“I think he (Billam-Smith) made a few adjustments and had a better camp than I did,” said McCarthy who has parted company with coach Pete Taylor since the defeat.

“He came back stronger and I went in almost thinking it was a foregone conclusion because of the previous fight. We didn't change anything but Billam-Smith's adjustments made the difference.”

“I'm going to get a fight as soon as possible – hopefully next month – and get back training and go again,” said McCarthy.

“I'll work on my flaws and come back stronger.”

McCarthy had been cut over his left eye in the seventh round at the MEN Arena. Billam-Smith had been throwing a venomous right hook throughout the fight but the Belfast man had been dealing with the shot until the blood in his eye in the eighth meant he didn't see it coming and was caught flush on the jaw. The Englishman followed up with a left hook and an uppercut and McCarthy was clearly hurt when another chopping right hand sent him crashing to the canvas. He bravely made it back to his feet but the referee, Jon Fernandez, rightly waved it off.

“It was one of those nights,” said McCarthy.

“It would be different if I was losing to lesser opposition. Billam-Smith is top five in the world with all the major governing bodies and it was the European and Commonwealth title, so I was beat in a world-level fight. Billam-Smith is in a position to go and fight for a world title next so if I can get a couple more wins I'll be back in that top 10 frame and I'll be ready to go again because I've been so close over the last couple of years.

“It was tough to take because I was right on the cusp of a breakthrough to the elite level but I've still got plenty of miles left on the clock, I haven't taken much punishment and I have plenty left to give. I'm still at the top end of the cruiserweight division and another win and I'll be right back in the mix.”

McCarthy spent the best part of eight months out of the ring between the Billam-Smith fights and he is determined to be more active as he embarks on the next stage of his career.

“I'll go anywhere that's got shows on,” he said.

“I want to get out as soon as possible and put the loss behind me. I want to get back and get the ball rolling again because I will improve with the fights so regular action is what I need. I want to get some momentum going and start winning again.”

EDDIE Hearn says Saul ‘Canelo' Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol can meet again on September 17, if the Mexican triggers the rematch clause in his contract.

Alvarez lost for only the second time in his 61-fight career as Russia's Bivol retained his WBA light-heavyweight title in Las Vegas on Saturday night but September 27 was originally scheduled for Canelo (57-2-2, 39 KOs) to face Gennady Golovkin in their trilogy match.

Hearn says Canelo still needs to “trigger” the rematch clause in his contract with Bivol (20-0) for the second fight to happen.

“The question is now, do you want to rematch with Dmitry Bivol or move and defend your 168 titles?” said Hearn.

“I think he's going to want to rematch him because I know how he's personally like, and it's a huge fight. We'll see what happens, and if he wants to activate that rematch clause, we'll make that happen for September 17.

“I think that's too disrespectful of Dmitry Bivol. At times, Canelo looked a bit tired and flat. Was that because he's up at 175 or for another reason? But let's not take away from what Dmitry Bivol did - he was punch-perfect, perfect feet; the engine was incredible.

“So rather than talk about whether Saul boxed well or not, you have to give all the credit to Dmitry because he was unbelievable.”

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Boxing