herald

Monday 25 September 2017

Huge night on cards

National Stadium makes history with 16 pro fights

Featherweight Eric Donovan headlines tonight’s card and he is promising to put on a show. Pic: Sportsfile
Featherweight Eric Donovan headlines tonight’s card and he is promising to put on a show. Pic: Sportsfile

Tonight's Celtic Clash 11 at the National Stadium is already a history-making event.

With 16 fights on the card, the show will be the biggest professional boxing event staged in Ireland.

"The record in Ireland is thirteen," says promoter Leonard Gunning. "This is an exciting bill. There's a lot at stake for each of the Irish fighters."

The show, which starts at 4.30, will see six fighters making their pro debut.

Keane McMahon (welterweight), John Joyce (light welterweight), Regan Buckley (bantamweight), Liam Gaynor (lightweight), John Corcoran (super middleweight) and Stephen McAfee (light welterweight) are determined to get their careers off to a winning start.

McMahon (22), with his impressive record at underage, is eager to meet the challenges of the pro game.

"There's been an explosion of interest in professional boxing over the last year or so," says Gunning.

"The success of Carl Frampton and Anthony Joshua among others has shown the possibilities that are out there. It's getting to a stage now where thrilling all-Irish fights can be matched."

Apart from those making their pro debut, other fighters on the card are on the cusp of stepping up to bigger pay-days.

Tonight's bill will be headlined by featherweight Eric Donovan (3-0), who says: "My opponent has got me at a bad time. I'm ready to prove my entertainment worth in the pro game."

Also at featherweight is Allan Phelan (7-2-1), who started his pro career in New York. On a path that could see him fight fellow Kildare-man Donovan for a title, Phelan says: "I'm looking forward to another explosive night and moving my career forward."

Tony Davitt-coached super lightweight Stephen Carroll (6-0) went to Scotland in March and caused an upset by defeating the Scottish champion in front of a home crowd.

Confident

Carroll is confident of a bright future. "This fight is a push to bigger and better things," he says of tonight's clash.

There's sure to be strong vocal support tonight for Tallaght's light welterweight Sean Creagh (4-1) who's back following surgery on a torn bicep. "This is a big fight for me," says 'Creaghsy Horse'. "I want a win and get myself back in the mix for titles as soon as possible."

With hot welterweight prospect Gerard Whitehouse (5-0) on the card as well as Cork's Cuban heavyweight Mike Perez (21-2-1) and high profile all-action super welterweight Jay Byrne (4-2), tonight's show has the ingredients for a memorable night of boxing.

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