Boxing at the old National Ice Rink in Cardiff played host to many memorable boxing nights from 1991 to 2004. Welsh boxing heroes Steve Robinson, Joe Calzaghe, Robbie Regan, Nicky Piper and Enzo Maccarinelli all fought at the old arena. On Saturday, 14th May 2016 boxing is once again on in the Welsh capital. The new Ice Arena Wales is located in Cardiff Bay and can hold approximately 3500. Haskins v Morales is co-promoted by Barry McGuigan’s Cyclone Promotions and Bristol-based Sanigar Events.
Here is a look at some of the contests that have been announced.
IBF World bantamweight title
Lee Haskins vs Ivan Morales
“Playboy” Lee Haskins, 32, Bristol, England with a 32-3, 14 KOs professional record. Lee has held just about every title imaginable from Prizefighter, British, European to Commonwealth and now he is the IBF World champion. He defeated Japanese boxer Ryosuke Iwasa for the ‘interim’ version. He was then set to face the ‘regular’ champion, Randy Caballero, in Las Vegas, instead, the American lost his title on the scales and Lee was elevated to ‘regular’ World champion. This is a good test and not a forgone conclusion, a win sets up a potential rematch with Stuart Hall, who Haskins holds a victory over.
Ivan Morales, 24, from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. He holds a 29-1, 17 KOs record. Has held and defended the WBC International Silver super flyweight title and has respectable wins over Cesar Javier Gandara, Cesar Canchila, and three-time World title challenger Luis Maldonado. Morales, the brother of boxing legend Erik, has a good skillset and variety of shots but is a bit one-paced and not difficult to hit. He is currently ranked 13th by the IBF.
Vacant IBF International cruiserweight title
Craig Kennedy vs Joel Tambwe Djeko
Craig Kennedy, 31, orthodox, of Cardiff is undefeated at 14-0, 8 KOs. Last year saw “The Kid” rise to the top of the British rankings and he is waiting for a title-shot. Wins over Wadi Camacho (twice) and Courtney Fry have elevated him. His last two victories came via stoppage over Tamas Bajzath and Lukasz Rusiewicz. Against Djeko, he will be fighting for his first major title. The Welshman is athletic and quick on his feet. A rangy boxer with good power. Craig is trained by Steve Robinson who turned the old Ice Rink into a fortress, Kennedy will be looking to follow in his mentors footsteps.
Joel Tambwe Djeko, 26, with a 9-1-1, 4 KOs record. The man from Brussels, Belguim, known as “Big Joe” has a decent looking record and holds an impressive first round KO over Frank Bluemle. His lone loss came in only his fourth fight and by majority decision, in a four-round contest against undefeated Alexandru Jur. He was held to a draw against undefeated Bilal Laggoune, who recently had a draw against the World Class Dmytro Kucher for the European title. Muscled and heavy-handed, his hand speed is deceptively quick when letting his hands go; accuracy and defense his weaknesses.
Vacant BBBofC Celtic welterweight title
Tony Dixon vs Paddy Gallagher
Tony Dixon, 23, of Mountain Ash, South Wales. He has a record of 7-0, 2 KOs. Undefeated Dixon has been a professional since December 2012. The hard-hitting prospect started life on the road and impressively won his first three contests. Trained by Paul ‘Pebbles’ Paveldish at Mountain Ash Boxing Club; Tony signed for Sanigar Promotions, so now has direction in his career and they have brought him his first title opportunity. Last time out he quickly dispatched the normally durable Ryan Toms in the first round.
Paddy Gallagher, 27, of Belfast has a 9-2, 5 KOs record. Both defeats coming in ‘Prizefighter’ (over three rounds) and has never been stopped. Holds two wins over tough journeyman William Warburton and scored an impressive first round KO over Mark Douglas. He is a tough, tenacious, come forward fighter who digs his hooks into body and head.
Vacant BBBofC British flyweight title
Andrew Selby vs Louis Norman
Andrew Selby, 27, of Barry, South Wales with a record of 4-0, 3 KOs. Andrew is a switch-hitter out of the orthodox stance. A two-time Gold medal winner at the European Amateur Championships, he has also won a bronze and silver at the World Amateur Championships. His record in the World Series of Boxing was 9-1. He has been impressive in his first four contests against good opposition. Looks to have power – combined with exceptional skills and speed.
Louis Norman “2Sweet”, 22, from Shepshed, Leicestershire, his professional record reads 11-1-1, 2 KOs. A former English flyweight champion, he holds wins over Mohammed Waqas, Nathan Reeve and a draw with Don Broadhurst. His only loss came to the talented Charlie Edwards on points. Edwards turned down the opportunity to face Selby, so credit to Norman for stepping up to the plate. Norman is a bustling fighter with a good engine and sound fundamentals, who doesn’t like to take a backward step.
Middleweight six-round contest
Conrad Cummings vs Frankie Borg
“Dynamite” Conrad Cummings, 24, of Craigavon, Northern Ireland has an 8-0-1, 3 KOs record. A five-time Irish amateur champion, he applies pressure behind a high guard and carries respectable power. He looked explosive taking out Oscar Riojas in two rounds. He was held to a draw by undefeated Alfredo Meli. Trained by Shane McGuigan, a lot is expected from Cummings and this will be a good test for him.
Cardiff’s Frankie Borg, 35, holds a 9-5, 3 KOs record. In 2014, Frankie hit the height of his career with a points victory over Kerry Hope – lifting the Welsh title in the process. Since then, three defeats and no longer the Welsh champion. A heavy handed fighter, who has shared the ring with Chris Eubank Jr. He holds wins over Jason Ball and Danny Butler. After almost a year out of the ring, we will see if he has returned re-invigorated.
The undercard sees an array of Welsh talent in undefeated prospects Morgan Jones (6-0), Mitch Buckland (10-0), Nathan Thorley (4-0) plus Edinburgh’s Josh Taylor.
Tickets are on sale at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or call 0844 844 0444, and are priced at £30, £40 and for VIP ringside £100.
Haskins v Morales will be screened live and exclusively on Spike (Freeview, BT TV, Talk Talk channel 31; FREESAT channel 141; Sky channel 160) on May 14. The Haskins v Morales IBF world bantamweight title fight will be screened live and exclusively on Channel 5.
Ice Arena Wales is located at Cardiff Bay, Olympian Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0JS