Issues of Christmas past are history as Conor Quinn looks ahead to busy 2023

HE SPENT the last two festive seasons worrying that he might never box again but Conor Quinn will sit down to his turkey on Christmas Day with three fights under his belt in his comeback year and another already penciled in for February 4.

After two and a half years on the sidelines awaiting clearance on medical issues, Quinn returned to action with a (disputed) draw in September and he has moved through the gears with a mighty impressive stoppage win in November and the fourth victory of his career on the undercard of Conlan-Guerfi ​​at the SSE Arena in December.

Next year is full of promise for the Dee Walsh-trained flyweight.

“It’s been a busy end to the year and it’ll be a busy start to the New Year,” said ‘The Magnificent’.

“The last two Christmases I’ve had, I’ve been wondering if I’d ever box again and now I’ve got an exact date to work towards.

“When I signed with Mark Dunlop I told him I wanted to fight as much as possible and I’ve had three fights in the space of a couple of months and I’ve got another one penciled in.

“So I’ve got something to push on towards because everything slows down over Christmas and it’s good to have something to focus on.

“It was great to fight at the SSE on the biggest show in the country. It was great to get a taste of a stadium show and all three of my fights have been on TV as well, which is amazing.”

The thriving, MHD Promotions-driven small-hall scene continues at the Europa Hotel.

‘Kingdom Warrior’ Kevin Cronin (5-0) headlines the show on February 4 against Limerick’s Jamie Morrissey (4-0) for the Boxing Union of Ireland BUI Celtic Light-Heavy (vacant) title.

Also in action are Celtic champions Colm Murphy and Owen O’Neill as well as (6-0) super-featherweight John Cooney and Ballycastle native Gerard Hughes (1-0).

CELTIC middleweight champion Fearghus Quinn is on course to fight for an Irish title early next year says Conlan Boxing chief Jamie Conlan.

Quinn, from Belleeks in south Armagh, captured the first belt of his fledgling career with a dynamic display that was too much for reigning champion Graham McCormack at the SSE Arena earlier this month.

Quinn’s work rate, stamina, power and punch selection were all impressive and Conlan said the Orchard County native is now ready for the next step in his development.

“I’ve rated Fearghus since I saw him beating Brett McGinty in the Ulster seniors,” he said.

“He told me he would prove that he could bring a crowd (to the SSE) and he did.

“We’re looking at the Ulster Hall next year for Fearghus and the Irish title – it’s a great domestic middleweight division and they’re all prepared to fight each other, they’re not shying away from each other and that is fantastic for Irish boxing.”

Derry’s Conor Coyle, Craig McCarthy, Jason Harty, Liam Walsh and Daniel O’Sullivan are among a clutch of ambitious fighters in the mix for the Irish title.

The fight could take place on the undercard of a Pody McCrory-headlined show in March.

“It’ll be March 17th for Pody,” said Conlan.

“It could be a defense of his IBO light-heavyweight title but I’d like to move him back down to super-middleweight because the fights are attractive – there are a lot of big names being thrown around for Pody.

“Pody, with Sean McComb (WBO European champion) and Fearghus underneath him, can now start to headline Ulster Hall shows

“We’ve been speaking to TG4. We have five fights next year with ESPN and we’re trying to coordinate them with TG4. That’s the plan and we’re speaking with Mark Dunlop as well.”

Conlan Boxing are also hoping to stage a show in Galway next year and the headline act would be Kieran Molloy, a talented, versatile fighter who Conlan rates very highly.

“I think Kieran Molloy could be a superstar,” he said.

“I really do. He has a bit of everything. I watched his spars with (Terence Crawford challenger) David Avanesyan and they were 50-50 and it’s testament to Kieran the way he’s able to adapt and fight and mix it under supreme pressure.

“Galway is another venue that we’re looking at. We had something penciled-in for the end of January but it didn’t work with TG4 so we’re going to look at something later on in the year – they have one or two festivals that we could also align to.”

INSPIRATIONAL Irish boxing heroes Carl Frampton and Katie Taylor are the subjects of a brilliant mural at Antrim Boxing Club painted by artist Visual Waste aka Dean Kane.

The two-weight world champions, from Belfast and Bray respectively, have inspired a generation of youngsters with their brilliance in the ring and Frampton says boxing was an essential positive influence in his life.

“I’m delighted to be featured in this mural by Visual Waste and hope it can inspire young people in Antrim and beyond to get involved in sport,” he said.

“Growing up in Tiger’s Bay, boxing kept me out of trouble. I have no doubt things could have been very different for me if it wasn’t for boxing. Getting involved in sport can change your life and I’d urge anyone to get involved.”

The mural on Durnish Road was jointly-funded through the Housing Executive’s community involvement grant and Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council (ANBC) with the aim of broader environmental improvements, promoting diversity within the sport and raising aspirations within the Springfarm and wider community.

Artist Kane, who braved the freezing temperatures to deliver the project on schedule, said: “This was a challenging piece due to the cold weather, the paint doesn’t always adhere well in these conditions but we got there in the end.

“I’m delighted with how it turned out and pleased to be part of this project which helps promote sport in the local community. Thanks to funding from our partners for helping to make it possible.”

An Antrim Boxing Club spokesperson added: “Carl Frampton and Katie Taylor are iconic boxers within Irish boxing and represent aspirations and dreams for young people who wish to pursue sport as a career. Their success is the stuff of dreams.”

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