herald

Saturday 21 July 2018

Showtime in the capital

Boxing is back in Dublin with 12-bout Celtic Clash

Showdown: Carl McDonald will fight Cork’s Colin O’Donovan at Good Counsel GAA Club
Showdown: Carl McDonald will fight Cork’s Colin O’Donovan at Good Counsel GAA Club

"It's a big show for a small hall," says promoter Leonard Gunning ahead of next Saturday's Celtic Clash 6 bill at Good Counsel GAA Club, Drimnagh.

With two title fights among the 12 bouts planned for the night, it's business as usual after the hysteria that followed the cancellation of The Beginning show in Dublin last week.

"This will be our fifth show in just over a year," says Gunning, who runs his promotions with Tony Davitt and Stephen Sharpe. "No-one since the heyday of Brian Peters at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom has put on as many shows in Ireland. It's a massive commitment to Irish boxing."

The trio were also involved in the successful Ring Kings event in Waterford in February.

"It's a huge workload," says Gunning. "And shouldn't be underestimated.

"We have 12 fights on Saturday next which means that 24 boxers need to be looked after. That means flights, hotels, coaches and so on. But the show looks like being a guaranteed sell-out."

With the collapse of the JB Promotions show, Gunning and Davitt added three extra fights to Celtic Clash 6.

"We manage Martin Quinn and Dylan McDonagh so we had to make sure their training camps weren't wasted effort," he explains. "When we reached our quota, we approached the BUI and asked for permission, given the unique circumstances, for one extra fight.

"And so we were allowed to salvage the BUI Celtic super lightweight title fight between Victor Rabei and Karl Kelly and stage it on the Good Counsel bill."

Leonard adds: "Rabei is building momentum and Karl is not afraid to take on anyone. So this fight has all the ingredients for being a great scrap."

The BUI Celtic super-bantamweight title decider between Colin O'Donovan and Carl McDonald should provide the winner with a shot at the Irish title later this year.

"Most of the fighters on the show are maturing now," says Gunning. "They've served their apprenticeship. They've been blooded and all are ready to step up. Guys like John Joyce and Keane McMahon are ready to contest for titles."

Gunning admits it's not easy promoting a boxing show.

"Problems do crop up," he says. "But we all work together to overcome problems.

"The Boxing Union of Ireland have a duty of care to all licence holders in the sport - and that means boxers, trainers, referees, judges, managers, promoters and so on. Their remit is to safeguard the overall health of Irish professional boxing."

Fans are relishing the prospect of witnessing a potential fight of the year in the clash between O'Donovan (Cork) and McDonald (Dublin).

Promoted articles

Entertainment News