Fight Week Diary: Crocker Vs Felix

January 24 2024

Welcome to the Matchroom Boxing Fight Week Diary in the build-up to our 2024 schedule opener. Scott Hammerton here live from Belfast. Keep checking back throughout the week as more will be dropping below each day…

Saturday: Fight Day

10.20pm: Some knockout from Lewis Crocker there! With Paddy Donovan watching on from the promoters row… Could we see them fight next?

9.11pm: The stars of Belfast boxing gather ringside for Clarke vs McCarthy including Tyrone McKenna, the Conlans, Ryan Burnett to name a few. It’s hot in the 1000 seater capacity.

8.29pm: Jose Felix is chilling backstage with a book, different.

8.12pm: The sound of pads can be heard a level below from the media office, Chev Clarke warming up for his fight with Tommy McCarthy. Sounds on point from up here.

7.23pm: A mirror image second KO on the bounce for Giorgio Visioli. With Sunny Edwards in his corner and singing his praise, the Aldershot talent’s man strength is showing in the smaller gloves.

6.40pm: Jose Felix has arrived at Ulster Hall waving Irish flags, he looks confident. There’s a few Mexican fans at the entrance to greet and cheer on the away fighter.

3.02pm: Final prep here at Ulster Hall. Some venue, a bit similar to York Hall. The undercard fighters are due to arrive in the next hour.

11.52am: Our 5k winner 9-0 Colm Murphy nails a time of 17:09, impressive. Back at the fight hotel, various fighters and their teams set off on a ‘traditional’ squad stroll around the town.

10.14am: MC David Diamante is holding court at breakfast, greeting a few of the fighters and also officials as they countdown to fight night. We’re heading over to the arena approximately 3pm. Tonight’s show is completely sold out… The only place to watch it? DAZN.

08.58am: Fight Day in Belfast! Our 5k community run takes place at Victoria Park at 10.30am, see you there?

Friday: Weigh In

5.40pm: The Matchroom media squad film a short interview with Andy Lee for an upcoming piece of content for another show… Lee’s charge Paddy Donovan is back out tomorrow night. “Fully focused and ready to go. It’s going to be a big year.”

4.19pm: Our running order is finalised for tomorrow night: Leli Buttigieg opens up Before The Bell just after 6pm followed by Kurt Walker. Giorgio Visioli opens up the live show on DAZN at 7pm leading into Walker vs Germain. Paddy Donovan is third from the top with Clarke vs McCarthy chief support to Crocker vs Felix.

2.05pm: We have a WBA International Welterweight Title fight as the challenger Lloyd German returns to the scales at 146.6lbs.

1.34pm: Jose Felix weighs in first at 146.6lbs… The towel comes out straight away for Lewis Crocker who weighs in heavy at 150lbs, 3lbs over the limit. The title remains on the line for the Mexican.

1.18pm: Lloyd Germain is 0.2lbs over the Welterweight limit and will have two hours to make the weight for his WBA International Title clash with Conah Walker.

12.49pm: More Belfast boxing royalty, former Unified World Bantamweight King Ryan Burnett is in the building. Now happily retired with his own gym, Burnett admits he doesn’t miss the fight game as much as he’d thought.

12.10pm: Good to see Michael Conlan at today’s weigh-in to support the card and his fighters Lewis Crocker and Kurt Walker. Fighters on the scales at 1pm.

09.34am: Nearly time for the fighters to hit the scales in Belfast. Always a quieter morning. Elsewhere, we’re set to announce some undercard additions to our recent show announcements in the next hour or two – Stay tuned to our Socials.

Thursday: Press Conference

6.34pm: Don’t forget across The Pond our very own John Ryder goes to war with Jaime Munguía this Saturday. The press conference is streamed live on DAZN in just over an hour and a half. A quick WhatsApp exchange with The Gorilla, who signs off with the following message: “Thanks for all the support back home, I appreciate it as ever.”

5.06pm: A howl can be heard from down the corridor… A quick peak into the media room and it’s Conah Walker letting rip for his photoshoot. ‘The Wolf’ is looking for back-to-back wins on the big stage following last August’s win over Cyrus Pattinson. “We’ll have a little pads session tonight to sharpen then it’s go time. I want to be busy this year on these sort of shows so I can’t slip up.”

4.27pm: Plenty of fighters are braving the cold and rain for a team walk. Expecting a pretty quiet afternoon here in Belfast as the scales loom tomorrow. Darren Barker joins for a catch-up to recall his Friday routine before the weigh-in. There’s fresh Benn vs Dobson content dropping on our Socials tonight ahead of next week in Vegas, tune in.

1.55pm: Press conference done. A little needle from Clarke and McCarthy in this must-win Cruiserweight clash. The fighters now break away for one-on-one interviews with various channels and outlets.

11.59am: Today’s venue is filling up with various sections of the media conducting interviews with the fighters in attendance. Conah Walker an early candidate for best dressed. Tommy McCarthy’s manager Mark Dunlop is in confident mood… “Tommy will do a job on Chev this Saturday. We were so close to that World Title shot, that’s the motivation here and still the aim for 2024.”

11.59am: Just a few days notice for Cardiff’s 9-0 Lloyd Germain who jumps at the chance to challenge Conah Walker for the WBA International Welterweight Title. “I remained disciplined over Christmas and New Year knowing a chance like this would crop up somewhere. I’ve won titles in the away corner before and trust me, I’m here to win this Saturday and change my life,” the 33 year old revealed.

10.58am: The staging and lighting team are setting up for today’s media only press conference, which you can watch live here from 1pm. Something tells me we might get some back-and-forth between Tommy McCarthy and Chev Clarke, but let’s see… With Eddie Hearn over in Phoenix for Munguia vs Ryder, Matchroom CEO Frank Smith will chair proceedings alongside our hosts Darren Barker and Jamie Ward.

8.33am: Late addition to the card Kurt Walker, the decorated amateur turned 9-0 prospect, introduces himself and is looking to impress, “This is such a big platform.” A somewhat strange breakfast themed playlist is blurting out in the background over the PA… ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’ followed by ‘How D’Ya Like Your Eggs In The Morning?’… Might be time to leave.

7.39am: Breakfast in a fight week hotel can be a strange place with the fighters cutting weight. Some bring in their own foods, some pick at what’s on offer, some have a nutritionist on hand to deal with the chef directly. Thankfully, the Matchroom staff don’t have such restrictions. England’s cricket collapse over in India is broadcast on a nearby TV, urgh.

Wednesday: Media Day

7.24pm: Just weeks after calling it a day in the pro game, Belfast’s own Tyrone McKenna is on-site perhaps still seeking a hit of the fight week buzz. ‘The Mighty Celt’ boxed both our main fighters Lewis Crocker and Jose Felix during his 28 fight pro career and is favouring a home town win.”Lewis will be too big for Jose.”

4.43pm: ‘The Real Deal’ Paddy Donovan has just recorded a segment for our ‘Flash Knockdown’ Podcast, due to air later tonight on all streaming platforms. Spoiler alert: In our charity quiz ‘Coach Trip’ Paddy certainly performed better than trainer Andy Lee predicted before hand…

4.01pm: In the opposite corner to McCarthy, Clev Clarke. The 7-0 puncher talks with such conviction. “I hope he keeps that same energy when I’m punching his head in. I don’t make predictions but it’s going to be fun, brutal, vicious and a Chev Clarke win!” C4 is in good spirits mixing with the Matchroom staff off camera. “That’s the best interview I’ve done with Chev since he started,” added Matchroom’s interviewer Jamie Ward.

3.25pm: Former European Cruiserweight Champ Tommy McCarthy believes a victory will propel him back into the mix. “I’ve not been paying too much attention to Chev’s career to be honest. I was knocking at the door for a World Title when he was in the Olympics. I lost interest in the sport but I’ve got that love back under my new training team. This fight is all about me winning and progressing back to the upper level.

2.29pm: Hometown headliner Lewis Crocker is up first. After 18 months out of the ring before linking up with Billy Nelson, ‘The Croc’ picked up an impressive four wins in eight months in 2023. There’s no sign of main event nerves from the 18-0 Welterweight rising star. “The one thing on my mind at the minute is what I’m going to be watching on Netflix later,” joked Crocker.

1.31pm: The fighters have started to arrive with bags and bags full of kit including Sunny Edwards, who is here to cheer on friend Giorgio Visioli. The former Repton amateur starlet scored a sensational first round debut knockout some 100 miles (give or take) South back in November on the Cameron vs Taylor 2 undercard. Edwards himself confirms he’s hoping for a June or July ring return of his own.

09.42am: Good morning from Belfast. Well, that was quite the landing from Heathrow with Storm Jocelyn brewing. It’s straight into our first UK show of the year this Saturday headlined by Lewis Crocker vs Jose Felix. We have ‘Media Day’ here at the official fight hotel starting just after 2pm with the majority of fighters going through various obligations including a photoshoot, exclusive interviews and more.

"This is a surreal experience to be headlining here in Belfast but one I am relishing."

- Lewis Crocker