After a ground-breaking couple of years that has seen Carl Frampton fight at Windsor Park and Michael Conlan at Féile an Phobail, the famous fighting city is set for an even bigger 2020.
Kicking that campaign off is a mouth-watering card at one of Belfast’s most iconic venues that has hosted some fantastic #MTKFightNight entertainment already.
This bill features title fights, several true 50-50s and some of the brightest talent on the island, so here’s a rundown of what to expect on the night…
Sean McComb vs. Mauro Maximiliano Godoy
As a former national team amateur captain, McComb was a popular man in his home city of Belfast even before he began a truly remarkable race up the levels as a professional.
‘The Public Nuisance’ – so called due to a now infamous incident at the Commonwealth Games – has already tackled a world title challenger in his last fight, when he showed incredible heart and skills to recover and outclass Emiliano Dominguez Rodriguez at this very venue.
Now, the 9-0, 4 KOs prospect steps up again against talented Argentinian Godoy (32-5-1, 17 KOs), who has fought in Canada, Spain and Kazakhstan in the past 18 months and arrives looking to upset the applecart.
This is a high-class headline act that can confirm McComb as a truly elite prospect.
Gary Cully vs. Joe Fitzpatrick (Irish lightweight title)
What a fight for Irish boxing this is. Two unbeaten lightweights – hotly tipped as two of the biggest talents on the island – colliding early in their careers for a title.
The towering Cully (9-0, 4 KOs) makes the journey from Naas with noisy fans in tow. A Peter Taylor-trained skillster, ‘The Diva’ will be looking to secure his first title as a professional on a massive stage having breezed back from last year’s hand injury.
Standing in his way is local hope Fitzpatrick (10-0, 7 KOs). A hard-hitting southpaw, ‘The Dragon’ is only fractionally shorter than Cully and having already blasted to the BUI Celtic crown by stoppage at the end of last year, is hopeful of adding another belt to his collection.
This is an intriguing clash of young, ambitious fighters who don’t know what it’s like to lose. Nobody can confidently say who will prove himself the best in Ireland on the night.
Davey Oliver Joyce vs. Lee Haskins (WBO European super-bantamweight title)
Style clashes often throw up the best battles and in Joyce (11-1, 8 KOs) and former world champion Haskins (36-4, 14 KOs), this bill has a potential cracker on its hands.
Having been edged out of the #GoldenContract tournament in his sole career defeat, it’s no surprise to see Mullingar’s Olympic hero Joyce step down in weight. A powerful puncher, he may look to overwhelm Haskins with pressure and become a two-weight WBO European king.
Former IBF world champion Haskins is not the easiest to catch up with, of course. The Bristolian southpaw – aka ‘The Playboy’ – held the EBU European crown before his slick skills saw him claim world honours. It took Joyce’s former MTK Global team-mate Ryan Burnett to dethrone him.
This one could be a real game of cat and mouse.
Lewis Crocker vs. John Thain
Belfast has a huge-hitting welterweight to get behind in Lewis Crocker and visitor John Thain is certain to provide the local with his toughest test to date.
Crocker (10-0, 6 KOs) has been widely tipped by the likes of Carl Frampton as a star of the future and at the age of 23, he has plenty of time to fine-tune technique to supplement his devastating natural power.
While ‘The Croc’ may enter this one a favourite, Thain has fought at the higher level having contested British and IBF European crowns and the popular Scot will be hell-bent on breathing new life into his career.
It’s another hugely significant test for another vaunted Belfast prospect and could provide real fireworks.
A busy undercard stars some of the best talent the island has to offer.
Olympian Steven Donnelly attempts to follow up Ultimate Boxxer glory when he goes up against the ambitious Jordan Grannum, hot Dublin prospect Pierce O’Leary tackles Liam Richards, the ever popular Padraig McCrory is in against Lewis van Poetsch, Omagh’s talented Callum Bradley faces Mikey Horabin, burly local Dee Sullivan looks to take a step forward against Jiri Svacina, Keady’s Sean Duffy battles Jamie Quinn and Belfast’s Ruairi Dalton matches up with Rafael Castillo.
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