29.10.03 – By Chris Curry: Live boxing returns in Belfast as the historic Ulster Hall in the heart of the city opens its doors once again to the noble art. Callaghan and Breen in association with Sports Network presents “Fright Night” on October 30th. Fighters from the local Breen’s Gym will get the chance to display their skills in front a knowledgeable boxing audience.
The theme tune of the “Pink Panther” will once again be greeted with roars of support as Jim Rock slips on his pink robe to return to action. Rock produced a tremendous performance in February against Takaloo for the WBU light Middleweight title before his gallant challenge was ended by a right hand. Shaking off the thoughts of retirement, Rock has renewed his ambition at middleweight and faces unbeaten Welshman Alan Jones. Jones brings a record of six wins, three by knockout with one draw. This should be an entertaining contest and one the fans will warm to. Jim has taken the rocky road back, but knows a solid performance will open new doors for him in 2004.
Twenty two year old Kevin O’Hara is a name for the future. The Belfast featherweight has already caught the eye of many respected observers and is looking to extend his unbeaten record of five wins with three by knockout. Kevin is deeply dedicated to the sport and with a growing fan following, the Ulster Hall will erupt in support of their solid prospect.
Kevin turned professional in Belfast on the 2nd of November 2002 with a first round TKO on the Wayne McCullough undercard against Mike Harrington. In 2003 he returned to the Odyssey Arena in Belfast on the undercard of Takaloo Vs Jim Rock, stopping Jus Wallie in two. Jason Nesbitt lasted three rounds in Portsmouth in March. Travelling to Germany with stableman Eamonn Magee in his bid for the European title in June, Kevin won on points over four rounds against Poland’s Piotr Niesporek. O’Hara extended his professional apprenticeship this month winning a six round contest against Wladimir Borov and on Thursday faces Cardiff’s Henry Janes. With Kevin O’Hara’s third appearance in his home town, the local fans are getting the chance to watch him progress and the chants of “Sweet Pea” will be greeting his ears.
Former British light welterweight champion, Mark Winters faces Martin Watson in what will certainly be a stern contest. Winters on the comeback trail has won two in a row in Belfast from his points defeat against Graham Earl in a British lightweight title eliminator. A win against Watson will bring Mark a step closer to a rematch against Earl who is the currant British champion.
Martin Watson from Coatbridge, Scotland comes to the ring undefeated in nine contests, six by knockout. Winters is facing a cross roads fight against an undefeated fighter who at twenty two has ambitions of his own. Trainer John Breen said to me neither Jim Rock or Mark Winters are in easy contests and that this is the type of fights they should be in. John has high hopes in these contest’s and there is a great feeling around the gym.
Belfast middleweight, Mickey “The Mighty” Quinn had his unbeaten record stained in Bördelandhalle, Magdeburg, Germany against Vedran Akrap in an extremely controversial decision in his last fight in June. With what should be a perfect record of four wins, Mickey aims to keep his career moving with a victory over Barry Thorogood, who has a twenty six fight professional record, fifteen wins, two by knockout with nine defeats. Away from the memory’s of Germany and back in Belfast, Mickey will have a “Mighty” reception.
Unbeaten light welterweight and cousin of Jim Rock, Dublins Robbie Murray faces Belfast born Ronnie Nailen. Ronnie who now lives in Glasgow Scotland is also unbeaten, like Murray in three contests. Both fighters are at the same stage in their respective careers. This is going to be an entertaining contest of somebody’s “0” must go.
Twenty nine year old light welterweight, Glen McLarnon looks to rebuild his career following a second round TKO loss to Ossie Duran in Huddersfield, in February. While flyweight Colin Moffett looks for some direction from his new trainer John Breen. Moffett has five wins, 2 draws with eight loss’s, seven of which have been in his last seven fights. A new direction under the experience of John Breen could change things for him on Thursday night.
Under his first fight with John Breen, lightweight Darren Melville will step into the ring at the Ulster Hall. Melville born in Tobago, who lived in Tottenham, England is now based in Belfast. I recognised Darren straight away when in Breen’s Gym from his fight against Steve Murray in September 2001. Murray was on the comeback after Bobby Vanzie against Melville. It was the performance Darren put on against Murray that made him stand out to me when I walked through Breen’s Gyms door.
Billed as Fright Night “Real Fights For Real Boxing Fans” Belfast is getting a Halloween treat with live boxing no longer a ghost.
Jim Rock Vs Alan Jones
Kevin O’Hara Vs Henry Janes
Mark Winters Vs Martin Watson
Mickey Quinn Vs Barry Thorogood
Robbie Murray Vs Ronnie Nailen
Glenn McLarnon Vs TBA
Colin Moffett Vs TBA
Darren Melville Vs TBA
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