Ryan Burnett travels to Glasgow next month will defend his WBA bantamweight title and Carl Frampton travels to Manchester to challenge for Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight crown Christmastime but there will also be a final pro boxing show in Belfast this November.
A six-fight card will play out in Belfast next month as the sport’s grassroots continue to thrive away from the bright lights and television screens. Boxing Ireland Promotions and Alio Wilton have teamed up with Scottish outfit Prospect Boxing to put on a card – ‘Back in Belfast’ – at the Shorts Sports and Recreation Club on the Holywood Road on Saturday, November 17.
Wilton is Belfast boxing through-and-through and a fixture at shows the length and breadth of Britain and Ireland every weekend. The trainer-manager-promoter ran two shows at the atmospheric Shorts Club in East Belfast along with Paul Graham’s Prospect Boxing back in 2016 and 2017 and now returns with a bang.
‘Team Alio’ have linked up with Boxing Ireland Promotions, the group behind the popular ‘Celtic Clash’ series in Dublin, for next month’s offering. The past eighteen months have seen an unprecedented six such shows down south but the outfit has its roots in Belfast.
Way back in 2013 the inaugural ‘Celtic Clash’ card took place in the city, with Sligo slugger Stephen Reynolds knocking out Warrenpoint’s Declan Trainor to win the Celtic title in what is, to this day, remembered as one of the great modern Irish fights.
The card next month will be headlined by Belfast flyweight Luke Wilton [17(7)-5-1] in a six-round contest versus tough Bulgarian, Georgi Georgiev, who is coming off a run of three straight wins including a first round knockout victory over unbeaten Irish prospect, Prince Brady. The son of promoter Alio, 30-year-old Wilton is a former British and Commonwealth title challenger. While he has not fought in over a year and a half, ‘Winky’ remains one of the top ‘little men’ in the UK and will be looking to use ‘Back in Belfast’ as a springboard to domestic title fights.
The packed undercard features five further fights – including two debuts. Young Larne super featherweight Kelvin McDonald has been making waves on the Ulster unlicensed scene and will make the step up on the bill. McDonald will be joined making his bow by Belfast super fly Cathy McAleer.
A star of the kickboxing and Karate world, McAleer has won numerous titles in this realm, including 2005 WKC Katate World Championships gold in Serbia in 2005, but will now try her glove at boxing. Teaming up with legendary Belfast boxing coach John Breen, McAleer is primed to make an instant impact in the sport. Her fight will be the first woman’s bout to take place in Belfast since double world title challenger Christina McMahon defeated Lana Cooper on the first Celtic Clash card just over five years ago.
Also appearing will be Belfast welterweight Tony Nellins [3(0)-0-1] who was last seen in March of last year scrapping to a four-round draw with England’s Ross Jameson in one of the most incredible fights to take place in Ireland in 2017. An instant rematch was sought for ‘The Baddest Man in Belfast’ but Jameson would unfortunately break his jaw in a subsequent fight and has yet to return to the ring.
Antrim Town cruiserweight Conor Cooke [1(1)-0] is also down to appear. Like McAleer, he made an impact in a different combat sport, winning multiple titles in kickboxing and mixed martial arts, but his return to his childhood sport of boxing during the summer got people talking. A savage knockout win in Dublin silenced many of his doubters and ‘Da Crook’ is keen for big fights soon.
One of these big fights may be against Scottish scrapper David Jamieson [1(1)-0] who also will appear on November 17. The Glasgow puncher debuted last month with a second round stoppage and will be looking to impress and bring on board Belfast fans next month.
Boxing Ireland Promotions boss Leonard Gunning said that “it’s been in the pipeline for a while, but I’m finally delighted to be ‘Back in Belfast’ on November 17 with Team Alio and Paul Graham of Prospect Boxing from Scotland at the Shorts Sports and Social Club.”
“We’ve run a number of shows in Dublin over the past 18 months so it’s great to be branching out into Belfast where the ‘Celtic Clash’ series began in 2013. Belfast is a huge boxing city and the home of pro boxing in Ireland, so we’ve wanted to go back there for a while, especially since Dennis Morrison returned from Australia.”
“I’ve always had a good relationship with Alan Wilton and we are in contact all the time so when he asked if we were interested in doing a co-promotion I jumped at the chance because he’s a guy I trust and respect. So I’m really excited to see what we can deliver and I’m sure November 17th is a going to be another great night.”
“You can’t pull the wool over Belfast fans’ eyes so all the lads, and lady, will have really competitive opponents next month. That’s what the boxers need and that’s what the fans in Belfast demand so it’s up to us to deliver that. If it’s half as good as the last show we had in Belfast then they are in for a treat.”