Conlan-Doheny set for August 6 in Belfast

The fighting pride of West Belfast, Michael “Mick” Conlan, is primed for a summer homecoming for the ages. Conlan, the WBO No. 1 junior featherweight contender, will defend his WBO Intercontinental title against former world champion TJ Doheny in a 10-round showdown Friday, Aug. 6 at Falls Park in Belfast as part of the Féile an Phobail festival.

Promoted by Conlan Boxing, Conlan-Doheny and undercard fights will stream live and exclusively in the United States on ESPN+ starting at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT.

“This is a big test for Mick, as Doheny is a formidable foe who won’t be intimidated fighting in front of the partisan Belfast crowd,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “He wanted a Belfast fight, and I am thrilled that his loyal fans will get to see him in person once again.”

Conlan (15-0, 8 KOs) became an Irish sporting folk hero after an amateur career that saw him win a 2015 World Championships gold medal and qualify for a pair of Olympic Games. He captured a bronze medal in London in 2012 and turned pro after a well-publicized robbery — and a double middle finger salute toward the judges — at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He’s fought in Belfast twice as a pro, selling out the SSE Arena Belfast in 2018 and packing nearly 10,000 fans into Falls Park in August 2019. He last fought in April and made his junior featherweight debut with a 12-round majority decision over noted spoiler Ionut Baluta.

Conlan said, “I’m excited to be back fighting in my city. It was special in 2019, but I believe this year it will be even better as we haven’t had live events due to the pandemic. On Aug. 6, we will show Belfast is back!

“It will be an honor to share the ring with TJ. I have a lot of respect for him and his achievements. I believe it’s my toughest fight to date, and with that, I will make my biggest statement in my quest to become a world champion.”

Doheny (22-2, 16 KOs), from Portlaoise, Ireland, reached the pinnacle of the sport when he upset Ryosuke Iwasa by unanimous decision in August 2018 to win the IBF junior featherweight world title. He made one defense of the title before losing a hotly contested title unification matchup against Daniel Roman. Following a comeback victory, he was upset via eight-round unanimous decision against Baluta, who went on to knock out former Irish amateur star Davey Oliver Joyce before fighting Conlan.

Doheny said, “This will be my first time fighting on Irish soil, and I can’t think of a better homecoming. It doesn’t get much bigger than this for an all-Irish clash, and the fans are in for a real treat. This is the kind of fight that I have been craving since my close majority decision loss to Daniel Roman. Top opposition is what motivates me and helps me raise my game. I cannot wait for this.”

TJ Doheny signs with Matchroom Boxing

TJ Doheny has signed a promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing USA and will make the first defense of his IBF World Super-Bantamweight title at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Friday January 18, live on DAZN in the US and on Sky Sports in the UK.

Doheny landed the IBF strap in stunning fashion in Japan in August, ripping it from defending champion Ryosuke Iwasa in Tokyo, moving to 20-0 (14KOs) in the process.

The Irishman will now look to solidify his status as a World champion in the Big Apple against an opponent to be announced soon, and then look to unify the division in 2019 – with a fight against WBA ruler and fellow DAZN fighter Daniel Roman a target.

“I am absolutely ecstatic to be joining the principal team in professional boxing today,” said Doheny.

“I believe with Matchroom Boxing and my management team at MTK Global I have the perfect blend to help me achieve my ultimate goals in the sport of boxing.

“I am really excited to getting the ball rolling with my first defense on January 18 at Madison Square Garden. This fight will give me the momentum I need going into really big year.”

“I’m delighted to welcome TJ to the team,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “TJ is always in great fights and he is coming off a huge win in Japan to capture the title.

“He will make the first defense of his title at Madison Square Garden on Jan 18 and if he comes through will attempt to unify the division against WBA champ Danny Roman in the spring. There are some great fights to be made at 122lbs and we expect to see all of them on DAZN.”

Doheny’s World title defense is part of a huge night of action in New York as Demetrius Andrade defends his WBO World Middleweight title for the first time against Russian Artur Akavov.

A third World title bout on the card sees Amanda Serrano (35-1-1 26KOs) gunning for history as she looks to land World honors in an extraordinary seventh weight class as she meets WBC and IBF World Super-Flyweight champion Eva Voraberger (24-5 11KOs) – the Austrian tasked with stopping Serrano’s bid for glory.

Former World Lightweight ruler Jorge Linares continues his comeback trail on the card when he meets Pablo Cesar Cano. Linares’ (45-4 28KOs) reign as WBA and Ring Magazine champion was ended in an epic clash with pound-for-pound star Vasily Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden in May, with Linares felling the Ukrainian star in the sixth before being stopped four rounds later.

Linares returned to winning ways in September with a third round stoppage win over Abner Cotto in September in California and starts 2019 with his 50th pro fight against Cano (31-7-1 21KOs), the Mexican former World title challenger who landed the WBC International Silver strap in his last outing in September – and Linares is joined by fellow Golden Boy Boxing star Alexis Rocha (12-0 8KOs), the 21 year old Welterweight talent ready to begin his charge for titles in 2019.

One of Matchroom Boxing USA’s rising stars tastes his first action in 2019 on the card as Reshat Mati (2-0 1KO) returns to the scene of his last outing in October where the ‘Albanian Bear’ went the four round distance in his second fight.

Tickets for January 18 are on sale now priced from $46 (including booking fee) – tickets are available from www.MSG.com

Photo: Matchroom Boxing