The Matthew Macklin vs Jorge Sebastian Heiland bill is back on for November with some major additions to the show.
Matchroom Sport’s Dublin debut is a go for November 15th. Promoter Eddie Hearn and headliner Matthew Macklin kicked off the build for the revised date at the 3Arena this week alongside undercard participants Anthony Fitzgerald, Patrick Hyland, Michael Sweeney, Ian Tims, Jono Carroll and Luke Keeler at another memorable Dublin press conference.
The big news announced for the show is that Olympic super featherweight silver medalist John Joe Nevin is set to have his first fight on Irish soil since turning pro on this card, while Goldenboy prospect Jason Quigley (the 2013 European Amateur Champion and World silver medalist) will also join him on the bill should he come through unscathed from his bout in Massachusetts later this month.
Securing Nevin for the show has to be seen as a major coup. He’s a name that guarantees leverage in terms of both media coverage and casual fan interest. It also means that there is the option for these Irish boxing stars competing abroad to fight at home again, which is something that really hasn’t been the case over the past five years since the national broadcaster (RTE) pulled televised boxing.
Another new addition to the card is an interesting 50/50 contest between Patrick Hyland and Scotland’s John Simpson at featherweight. Hyland is another fighter who has been making his career largely in America of late. He challenged for the WBA interim title against Javier Fortuna on the undercard of Juan Manuel Marquez’s knockout of Manny Pacquiao in 2012, and while he lost his zero that night, he ran the Dominican a lot closer than most anticipated.
Simpson is a former British and Commonwealth champion on a bad run of form following an ill-conceived move up to lightweight. He’s always been a handful domestically when he’s fighting in his correct division though and would by Hyland’s best win should he get it. The victor in this one is being looked at as a possible next opponent for the new European titlist Josh Warrington, which would be a big fight and payday for either man, given Warrington’s growing drawing power in Leeds.
At the first press conference back in July, it was local rivals Gary O’Sullivan and Anthony Fitzgerald who stole the show, but with Spike absent this time around, it was another all Irish grudge match which picked up where they left off – Michael Sweeney versus Ian Tims. There was heat between Tims and Sweeney’s team right from kick off and it threatened to spill over during the post presser face-off when the two fighters exchanged shoves and had to be separated after Sweeney knocked the hat from Tims’s head.
Macklin spoke of the postponement and the struggles he had in his recent warm up bout in Germany. When questioned if he felt, given the rust he shown in that fight, that he would have been beaten by Heiland had the original date went as planned, he admitted that if he performed like that, he might have lost. He went on to note that it was a mix of things that were effecting him on the night; the rust was a factor but so to was the match up itself. He believes that after being so used to topping cards, it was difficult for him to get motivated for a tune up fight against a low level opponent on short notice. Macklin said it felt more like a sparring session than an actual fight for him and that he would be a lot better come the 15th. Matt knows himself that he will need to be. This bout with Heiland is “win or go home” at this stage in his career. There are big fights out there for him in the division – a forth crack at a world title or else some other high-profile money match ups – a win sets them up. A loss though and they are gone.
Full press conference
Sweeney/Tims pull apart
The Dublin card for November 15th as it stands:
Matthew Macklin vs Jorge Sebastian Heiland
Gary O’Sullivan vs Anthony Fitzgerald
Patrick Hyland vs John Simpson
Michael Sweeney vs Ian Tims
Khalid Yafai vs Luke Wilton
Declan Geraghty vs Jono Carroll
John Joe Nevin vs TBA
Luke Keeler vs TBA
Sam Eggington vs TBA
Tommy McCarthy vs TBA