Three Thrilling All-Ireland Fights
Added to Frampton / Donaire Undercard!
(January 17th) 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.
Tickets for Frampton vs. Donaire are available to purchase from the SSE Arena Belfast Box Office, www.ssearenabelfast.com and 028 9073 9074 from 10.00am on Thursday 11th January.
Frampton vs Donaire In Belfast April 21st!
(January 12th) Two-weight World Champion Carl Frampton MBE (24-1, 14 KO’s) faces Filipino four-weight World Champion Nonito Donaire (38-4, 24 KO’s) at Belfast’s SSE Arena on Saturday 21st April, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
The blockbuster bout will be one of the biggest fights to take place in Belfast in recent years and a make-or-break fight for both men.
Frampton is looking forward to meeting elite opposition on home soil in his first bout of 2018.
“It’s a brilliant fight – a four-weight World Champion against a two-weight World Champion,” said Frampton. “Has a bigger ‘away’ fighter ever come to fight in Belfast before? I don’t think there’s been a bigger name than Nonito Donaire and he’s coming to fight a local guy in his hometown.
“But I think both of us are in the same situation – a slip-up here and one of us might never fight for a World Title again. There’s a lot on the line for both guys.”
With a much-anticipated summer fight date at Belfast’s Windsor Park in the works for ‘The Jackal’, 30-year-old Frampton believes a win over the 42-fight Filipino veteran would be perfect preparation ahead of a World Title tilt.
Coming off the back of a 10-round points win over Mexican Horacio Garcia last month in what was Frampton’s first outing since the loss of his WBA World Featherweight crown to Leo Santa Cruz, ‘The Jackal’ is confident that victory over Donaire will tee up a bout against the winner of the scheduled IBF title clash between Lee Selby and Josh Warrington.
“He’s been at the top of four divisions, but he was in the same weight division as me for quite a while and he’s someone I’ve always kept an eye on,” said Belfast native Frampton. “He’s someone I admire as well and I think he’s a great fighter, but I think this is the perfect fight to get me ready for a World Title fight in the summer.”
While Donaire has suffered three defeats since being named 2012 Fighter of the Year by The Ring, ESPN and the Boxing Writers’ Association of America –the same honours Frampton picked up in 2016 – the 35-year-old ‘Filipino Flash’ is eager to prove that he is still an elite force at 126lbs.
“This is exactly the type of fight I live for — going in against one of the best in the World in the lion’s den of his hometown of Belfast,” said Donaire. “I can’t wait for the first bell! I know I’ll have to be the best I can be on fight night. Make no mistake, I’m already training like never before.”
“I plan to put on a spectacular show for my fans, his fans and boxing fans in general. When I walk out of the ring victorious, it will have all been worth it.”
Promoter Frank Warren said: “Belfast fight fans are going to be in for another treat on April 21st. This is a guaranteed barn burner between two elite Featherweights. Both men have held multiple World Titles and know that a win will lead to another shot at World glory.
“If Carl comes through this fight then it’s the big one at Windsor Park in the summer next. That is what we promised him and that is what we will deliver if he gets the win in April.”
Richard Schaefer, founder of Ringstar Sports, added: “This is a fight between two of the best Featherweights in the World, with multiple World Titles between them. These are two fighters who are never boring in the ring, two fighters who come forward and love to engage.
“If styles make fights — well it doesn’t get any better than this! On April 21st it will be ‘Fireworks in Belfast’ and boxing fans from around the World will be in for a treat.”