Michael Conlan and TJ Doheny to square off in massive all-Irish clash at Belfast's Falls Park

Former professional world champion Doheny will face former amateur world champion and ranked contender Conlan in the latter’s backyard.

Former amateur world champion Michael Conlan (L) and former pro world champion TJ Doheny (R).
Former amateur world champion Michael Conlan (L) and former pro world champion TJ Doheny (R).
Image: Inpho (L) and PA Images (R)

BELFAST’S MICHAEL CONLAN and Portlaoise’s TJ Doheny will meet in the most significant all-Irish professional boxing match in decades in just over a month’s time, it has been confirmed.

The crossroads bout will headline a Top Rank/Conlan Boxing event at Féile an Phobail in Falls Park, Belfast, on 6 August.

Victory for Conlan, one of Ireland’s most decorated ever amateur boxers who boasts an unblemished professional record of 15-0 (8KOs), would tee up an almost guaranteed world-title shot at 122 pounds.

Doheny (22-2, 16 KOs), meanwhile, scaled that particular mountain when he beat Ryosuke Iwasa in Japan to become world champion in August 2018. Were he to beat his compatriot in Conlan’s home city, he would likely re-enter the world-title picture himself despite his upset defeat to Ionut Baluta in March of last year. Conlan incidentally edged out Baluta in his most recent fight in April.

“I’m excited to be back fighting in my city,” said Conlan. “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 6 August, we will show Belfast is back.

It will be an honour 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 added: “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.”

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said: “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. He wanted a Belfast fight, and I am thrilled that his loyal fans will get to see him in person once again.”

Former world-title challenger Jamie Conlan, older brother and advisor to Michael Conlan, added: “Michael and I are honoured and excited to bring live boxing back to Belfast. Everyone has been working hard behind the scenes to make this event possible during these crazy times and now there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Both Michael and TJ have Irish pride on the line, but they see each other as the perfect dance partner to reach the world-title level.

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“It has all the ingredients for a fantastic fight.”

Tickets will go on sale for the event on Ticketmaster — online only — from this Friday at 10am.

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