Belfast in good shape for a duel with Dublin
Boxing: Irish News Cup
By Thomas Hawkins
CARL?CLASS: Barry McGuigan’s new pro signing Carl Frampton (left) puts in some quick work on the pads with coaches Gerry Storey Sr and Jr ahead of tonight’s debut at featherweight in Liverpool Olympia against 19-year-old Hungarian novice Sandor Szinavel (0-1). Meanwhile, Detroit-based Andy Lee will have his 19th contest on the undercard of stablemate Wladimir Klitschko’s IBF and WBO heavyweight title defence in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on June 20 against Latvia’s Olegs Fedotovs (10-5). Lee celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday at the Klitschko training camp in. Picture: Hugh Russell
McCourt, Fryers, McGuinness, Collins are names that conjure
up so many magical memories of epic fight nights of
yesteryear for Belfast and Irish amateur fight fans.
Olympic bronze medal winner Jim McCourt (Immaculata) needs no introduction; the Falls Road southpaw was the best lightweight in the business in the ’60s.
Irish international Damian Fryers (Holy Trinity) and the hugely-talented Seamus McGuinness (Immaculata) are next up and Fryers’ Ulster Senior final battle with Barry McGuigan lives long in the memory.
Last but not least is that Dublin legend with the granite chin, Steve Collins, the man who went on to become WBO middle and middleweight champion in the mid ’90s and whose wars with Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn are fight classics.
Tonight, another four young boxers named McCourt (Ben), Fryers (James), McGuinness (Liam) and Collins (Paul) will be among 20 young warriors of 2009 as the best of Belfast prepare to face the might of Dublin for The Irish News Cup.
“This annual Tale of Two Cities clash is always a close call and tonight’s bill at the Glenpark social club in north Belfast (8pm start) will be no exception,” said Antrim County Board secretary Mal Scott.
Aiming to set the Belfast side on the road to victory is Immaculata featherweight James Fryers, nephew of that tough Holy Trinity box-fighter Damian and the reigning Irish junior champion at 57kilos.
And his Mac coach, Gerard ‘Nugget’ Nugent, reckons tonight’s bill will be another step on the road to greater senior honours for the Corpus Christi pupil.
“James is in great shape after his Irish junior title win, he’s in great nick for this bill,” said Nugent.
“He beat three Irish champions to get the Irish title, that was in the middle of May with the finals on May 22, so that shows you what form he’s in.
“He has a very good defence and a great boxer.
“He had a great win in the juniors over a very good kid, Charlie Heggarty, on his way to the title in Dublin.
“James could go all the way in the sport, it’s early days and it’s a very tough sport, but I think he has the ability to go all the way.”
Tonight, Fryers faces another durable Dubliner, Glen Murphy, and Nugent knows it will be anything but handy.
“James is up against a good one alright, Glen Murphy is no dozer and he’s in form too,” said Nugent.
“We know all about him, he stopped a very good lad, Christopher Rice, in a recent St Agnes’ club show and wee Ricey is a very useful kid.
“He used to be at the Mac, so I know how good he is. Murphy’s a bit of a brawler, he’ll be a handful alright.”
Young Liam McGuinness used to trade leather for west Belfast club Gleann, but moved to the Mac around a year ago.
“He’s a tidy, upright boxer and he’s coming on nicely at the club. I think the two lads are in with a shout against Dublin, they can put the Belfast team on the road to a victory,” added Nugent.
Youth Two light fly Paul Collins (St Agnes’) faces Dublin’s Sean Roche, while Dockers coach Paddy Fitzsimmons will be aiming for a win for his welterweight contender Ben McCourt, who meets Michael Kernan in the Intermediate 69kilos clash.
- The Ulster senior squad trials will continue at the Holy Trinity Gym, Turf Lodge on Sunday at 11am. All senior boxers and coaches are welcome. Any queries, please contact Michael Hawkins: 07713622353
TALE OF TWO CITIES FIGHT CARD
Glenpark, Ardoyne Avenue, Belfast, 8pm (Belfast team first):
B4 54kg: Anthony O’Rawe (Braid) v Alan Hughes
Y1 44kg:Joe Scullion (All Saints) v Shane O’Neill
Y1 57kg: Noel Adams (Gleann) v Michael Stokes
Y1 57kg: Enda Kennedy (Toome) v Michael McDonagh
Y1 69kg: Christian Griffith (Holy Family) v Mike Reilly
Y2 48kg: Paul Collins (St Agnes) v Sean Roche
Inter 54kg: Liam McGuinness (Immaculata) v Avan Bajalan
Inter 57kg: James Fryers (Immaculata) v Glen Murphy
Inter 63kg: Brian McSorley (Dockers) v Robert Murphy
Inter 69kg: Ben McCourt (Dockers) v Michael Kernan