Three thrilling All-Ireland domestic dust-ups have been confirmed for the undercard of Carl Frampton’s much-anticipated April 21 showdown against Nonito Donaire in Belfast.
Two-weight World Champion Frampton will clash with four-weight Champion Donaire at the SSE Arena in one of the most eagerly-awaited bouts to ever take place on Irish soil, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
The main-event participants will meet head-to-head at Belfast’s Europa Hotel this afternoon (Wednesday) ahead of April’s massive fight date.
And promoter Frank Warren and MTK Global have moved to install an undercard to match the occasion on what is set to be an action-packed bill.
Three all-Irish battles have been confirmed so far for the April 21 fight night…
-Jono Carroll (15-0, 2KOs) will travel to meet Belfast’s Marco McCullough (18-4, 11KOs) in a 12-round Super-Featherweight showdown for the IBF European title
-Tyrone McKenna (15-0-1, 6KOs) and Light-Welterweight rival Philip Sutcliffe Jr (14-2, 9KOs) will clash in another long-awaited Belfast v Dublin battle
-And WBO European Champion Conrad Cummings (12-1-1) and Irish champion Luke Keeler (13-2, 5KO) go toe to toe in what promises to be an all-action Middleweight affair
Both Meath-based Finglas native Carroll and McCullough will be looking to build on their respective third-round stoppage victories on the ‘Frampton Reborn’ fight bill in Belfast last November.
“I’m buzzing for the fight,” said Carroll. “I had a great win in Belfast last time out and this is another brilliant opportunity. Marco is a lovely lad, but I’m out to get another big win and take another step up the ladder on a massive bill.”
McCullough believes this will be a crossroads bout in his career as he looks to rebuild towards title contention.
“It’ll be a good domestic fight, I’m excited about it,” said McCullough. “A win would put me straight back into the mix for titles. Jono has really improved over the last year or so and both of us have a bit of power, so it’ll be a cracking fight. It’s nearly like a Belfast v Dublin undercard, so I’d say it’ll be a great atmosphere.”
The Light-Welterweight meeting of McKenna and Sutcliffe has been in the making for some time, with the rivals having been continually linked since clashing as amateurs back in 2012.
They will now finally meet in the pro ranks on April 21 in a bout that is sure to have Irish and UK fight fans on the edge of their seats.
“It’s a fight that every fan in Ireland wants to see,” said McKenna. “It’s one I’ve wanted for a long time and I fully believe I’m going to win. Phil Sutcliffe is saying I’m avoiding him, but now it’s finally happening and I’m delighted. It’s the two top Light-Welters in the country and it’s very exciting.”
After some heated words in recent times, Sutcliffe is keen to silence his rival.
“Tyrone’s got what he’s been shouting about, so we’ll see if he keeps his mouth going,” said Sutcliffe. “If he wants to talk then let him talk. I do my talking in the ring. I’m friends with everyone, especially lads on my team, but this is business and I’ll go in there and get the job done.”
The Middleweight clash of Cummings and Keeler seems sure to be a barnburner and while the fighters paid respect towards each other, both have predicted an early finish.
“It’s great that we’ll finally get it on,” said Cummings. “This is a tasty fight and I think the public will get their teeth into. Luke’s a brilliant boxer and a fellow Irishman – he’s always in good fights and so am I, so it will be entertaining however long it lasts. I’m really up for it.”
Echoing those sentiments, Keeler said: “It’s a cracking fight. A lot of people have been talking about it and there should be great interest. I’m feeling great and training has been going really well, so I can’t wait to get in there.”
Further undercard announcements will be made in the coming weeks.
Limited tickets for Frampton vs. Donaire are available to purchase from the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com and 028 9073 9074.
Tickets range from £40 (Tier) to £400 (Inner Ring Hospitality)