Mick Conlan is back fighting in Belfast and make no mistake, facing TJ Doheny is the hardest test of his career on August 6.
TJ may not be a household name but he has already achieved much more in his professional career than Mick has so far and he knows that a win at the Falls Park would propel him back into the mix for a world title shot. Two years ago, Mick was never threatened in his first big night at the Feile but this is a different fight altogether.
I know TJ from our days as amateurs because we are around the same age and we were on the same Irish junior international teams. He’s a good, slick southpaw boxer but also brings a lot of grit to the ring.
Any idea that Mick is having a handy one ahead of a world title shot can be thrown out the window. The first I heard about the possibility of this fight happening was about four weeks ago so you can be sure that TJ was aware of it five or six weeks ago.
That means he will be fully prepared and ready to give it everything and I expect it to be an exciting fight. Mick is the mandatory challenger for the WBO super-bantamweight belt so a world title shot is on the line for both men.
TJ took the hard route to a world title when he travelled out to Australia to start his professional career and he was largely forgotten about until he got his world title shot in 2018 against Ryosuke Iwasa.
He had learned his trade fighting moderate opposition and then when the big chance came he grabbed it. Just like Wayne McCullough, he won his world title in Japan which was a brilliant achievement.
He had a successful defence of the IBF Championship and then lost in a great fight with Danny Roman in their world title unification bout on a majority decision.
He had a win and then lost to Ionut Baluta, who Mick beat in his last fight. But too much focus on TJ’s defeat would be a mistake. He had gone from the high of a unification title fight to an eight-rounder against someone he was expected to beat and tripped up. With a world title opportunity on the line as well as Irish pride, he will be a different man for this one.
It’s a good move for Mick to have this fight because he could have hung around waiting for his mandatory world title chance but is staying active in a good fight that should give him ideal preparation for his shot at the big one.
Mick is still improving as a professional and after looking at the way he defeated Baluta I would like to see him using his boxing skills a lot more in this fight. He’s a superior boxer to most in the world and I feel he needs to show those skills on August 6.
One thing we are guaranteed at Falls Park is a great atmosphere. To have thousands of fans back at a boxing event will be great to see and I’ve heard they may have around 7,500.
The sport is coming back to Belfast with a bang and I really hope this is the start of boxing and every other sport really getting back to normal because the fans make an event. We’ve all been reminded of that by Euro 2020 and supporters back in the stadiums.
It’s all set up for a very exciting night and whoever has managed to get a ticket can expect some real fireworks.
Gervonta Davis is one of the most exciting fighters in the world to watch but in last weekend’s win over Mario Barrios, it was clear that light-welterweight is not the division for him.
Davis was lethal at super-featherweight and is probably now a genuine lightweight.
A fight between him and Vasyl Lomachenko or Teofimo Lopez would be great. But he should forget about taking on the best at light-welterweight because undisputed champion Josh Taylor would be too big for him and the same goes for Regis Prograis, Jose Ramirez and Jack Catterall.
The real buzzkill for the future of Davis came from his manager Floyd Mayweather, who said he will focus on fighting fighters who are linked to PBC, the Al Haymon outfit.
That’s a closed shop with the big names standing outside and that’s a real shame.
Former world lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko reminded everyone in the world of boxing why he is one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world last weekend.
Loma gave a brilliant performance against Masayoshi Nakatani in his return to the ring since the shock defeat to Teofimo Lopez. In fact, he did a better job than Lopez did in his own win over Nakatani.
It was a brave fight to take when coming back to the ring and the way he dismantled Nakatani was a joy to watch. He’s not a one-punch artist, Loma relies on accuracy and timing and his accuracy is second to none.
It was a destructive performance and I really hope Loma gets the rematch with Lopez before the champion moves up to light-welterweight.
I’m looking forward to seeing Lyndon Arthur and Anthony Yarde back in the ring this Saturday night and I’ll be there to see it as I’m working for BT Sport.
Arthur is defending his WBO intercontinental light-heavyweight title after the good win over Yarde when he essentially won it with his jab. I want to see him kick on and hopefully we’ll get a better idea of how far he can go in this sport.
It’s also a big night for Yarde, who had to take some criticism for his defeat to Arthur. If he doesn’t put in a better, more all-round performance, then there will be question marks over his ability to take revenge over Arthur and move back to the world title scene.
Matchroom and the streaming channel DAZN have put together a brilliant new commentary team for their shows, which kick off at the end of this month.
They’ve gone with Maya Jama and Laura Woods, who are two big social media personalities that will draw attention to the shows, as will Chris Lloyd with his podcasts, but for me the biggest coup is getting Mike Costello to move away from BBC Radio Five.
Having worked with Mike, I know just how good he is. He knows the sport and unlike some commentators, he won’t feel the need to be biased towards the fighters linked to the promoter. Mike will call the fights as he sees them and that’s what our sport needs.