| 9.5°C Belfast

McComb has the chance to be part of a special tradition


Close

Big night: Sean McComb celebrates victory over Miroslav Serban at the Ulster Hall, and is now ready to be the headline act

Big night: Sean McComb celebrates victory over Miroslav Serban at the Ulster Hall, and is now ready to be the headline act

Big night: Sean McComb celebrates victory over Miroslav Serban at the Ulster Hall, and is now ready to be the headline act

The Ulster Hall has been the cradle from which many a boxing career has blossomed and Sean McComb will be hoping in a couple of years' time he can look back to a moment when the grand old stage played such a role in his development.

When winning the right to design the Bedford Street venue in 1860, the young architect W.J. Barre could not have imagined that the Noble Art would be as associated with its surrounds in equal measure to the natural affinity of music and literature.

But, down through the decades of the 20th Century and into the more recent years, the Ulster Hall has been host to many great Irish fighters - often a staging post pointing to greater nights ahead or indicating that a level has been found.

The late, charismatic manager and promoter Mike Callahan would often regale memories of regular Tuesday nights at the Ulster Hall with a queue waiting to enter on many occasions.

Legendary figures such as Jimmy Brown, John Kelly and Freddie Gilroy learned their trade under the knowledgeable gaze of veteran punters, as did the more modern entertainers - Barry McGuigan, Dave McAuley, Darren Corbett and most recently Carl Frampton.

Now McComb, in his 10th fight, has been handed the position of headline act when he clashes with Argentinian Mauro Maximillian Godoy, who has mixed in good company and should offer a test to tell us more about the Belfast man's potential.

The 27-year-old is certainly developing an entertaining style and is eager to make major strides in 2020, starting with a polished performance before a sold-out crowd on Saturday night.

"To be honest this has come sooner than I thought it would but I can't wait to walk out into that atmosphere. I know it will be phenomenal and it's sold-out, which is very encouraging for me," said light-welterweight McComb.

"It's the best atmosphere you will ever get… I loved it when they brought the Ulster senior finals back to the Ulster Hall. That's where it should always have been but it was taken away for a while when I was coming through so because of that it wasn't a dream of mine but I would say to every kid coming up make it your dream - think about it every time you train because it's such a special place.

"The one thing I will have to make sure of is that I don't get carried away with the atmosphere because it's so easy that after landing a good shot you want to go for it because the crowd's excitement suggests that your opponent is hurt. That happened in my last fight and I went a bit wild in the first round and then ended up getting caught.

"This is an important night for me, the people know what they're looking at and it's a chance for me to put down a marker."

Former world champion Frampton knows all about impressing the Ulster Hall crowd, having headlined in his seventh bout and won emphatically in the third round.

The Jackal is expected to be at ringside on Saturday night to witness McComb taking a further step along his learning curve.

"(Yuri) Voronin was a good guy for me to face at that point in my career. Sean's opponent, Godoy, is even better. It's a real honour to top the bill and it brings a new pressure," said Frampton.

"I've no doubt that Sean will thrive and this is the chance for him to show that he is the real deal as a major title prospect."

So, the baton his passed to McComb, a top international amateur with designs on making it to the very top as a professional.

The walls of the Ulster Hall are imbued with many memorable occasions, evenings that so many Ulster boxers hold dear in their memory bank, and now it is over to McComb to leave his mark with a performance that points to an even brighter future.

Belfast Telegraph