“There’s only one person getting his face smashed in and that’s Conner Kelsall...” Conor Quinn laughs off threat from Commonwealth title rival

Celtic and English flyweight champions Quinn and Kelsall go head-to-head on June 28

The Belfast Brawl
Conor Quinn and Connor Kelsall star on the bill at the Belfast Brawl at the SSE Arena on 28 June. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

HIS OPPONENT leant across and looked into his eyes. “I can’t wait to smash your face in,” he said but Conor Quinn laughed off the idle threat when he met Conner Kelsall for the first time at the Europa Hotel on Thursday.

Celtic champion Quinn and English champion Kelsall trade leather at the SSE Arena on June 28 (live on TNT) and the Commonwealth flyweight title is the prize for the winner.

If anyone’s face is getting smashed in, it’ll be Kelsall’s says Quinn.

“These are the fights I want, the type of fight that gets you to the next level,” he said.

“Fighting someone who doesn’t know how to lose and beating them is what I need to kick me on in my career. He’s a very good fighter, he was a good record and a good pedigree but that’s nothing new to me.

“I was boxing for Ireland from I was 11 years-old, I boxed all around the world against Olympic champions, European champions on a day’s notice. When I get in the ring, I don’t care who’s in the other corner – I know what the result’s going to be.”

Quinn looked the bigger man when he faced his opponent Kelsall but the Doncaster native is a tough guy who will come to Belfast to win and kick on to the European title shot that could await the man who has his hand raised.

He is 11-0 as a professional and all but one of those wins have come by decision which makes his boast about smashing Quinn’s face in come across as a little far-fetched.

“That’s what I want to hear,” said Dee Walsh-trained Quinn.

The Belfast Brawl
Conor Quinn has won the Celtic and Commonwealth silver flyweight titles and signed for Frank Warren's Queensbury Promotions since last summer. PICTURE: MAL MCCANN

“I don’t know if he’s ever smashed anyone’s face in to be honest but that’s certainly what I’ve done in my previous load of fights. It’s good that he’s coming with those aspirations because I’ll be going in with the exact same and if we’re both going in like that it’s a good fight for the fans isn’t it.

“There’s only one person getting his face smashed in and that’s Conner Kelsall.”

Last summer Quinn spent six frustrating rounds chasing defensive journeyman Bryan Castro around the ring at Fall’s Park. Since then he has stopped Chris Liddell and Jemsi Kibazange, won the Celtic and Commonwealth Silver titles in the process and signed a contract with Frank warren’s Queensbury Promotions.

The Belfast man treats every man he faces “as if they’re a world champion” and he has upped the ante in preparation for this fight.

“I’ve always treated every fighter with the same respect because I’ve seen it many a time when a fighter takes someone lightly and there’s an upset caused,” he says.

“The difference in this fight is it’s on a much bigger platform and that allows me to put a bit more into the camp both financially and mentally. I was in Madrid sparring the Spanish champion Brandon Moreno (12-0) and Scotland for sparring and we had people come over for sparring. It costs more but for a fight of this magnitude you can afford to do that a wee bit more and that’s the difference when you get to this level, you step up the training and everyone around you steps it up as well because everyone knows how much is on the line.

“Every aspect of training has stepped up and I feel absolutely amazing for it. It’s hard work but it’ll all be worth it when I’m standing in the SSE Arena and it’s packed-out with everybody shouting my name and I’ve got the Commonwealth title belt around my waist.”