We present our pick of the best UK undercard fights in June, including Steven Ward vs Liam Conroy and Zelfa Barrett vs Lyon Woodstock
Zelfa Barrett vs Lyon Woodstock (Leeds, June 15)
One of three - Yes, three! - undercard crackers from the same show, with Josh Warrington vs Kid Galahad headlining, on this list. Kudos to Frank Warren. These two young super-featherweights are talented fighters with interesting backstories whose limitations have recently been exposed to an extent. Manchester’s Barrett, 21-1 (11), a former English champ and the nephew and protege of former top pro Pat Barrett, was surprisingly outlasted by rugged Ronnie Clark in February last year; two marking-time wins, over the same opponent, have followed. Woodstock, also 25, built a reputation for exciting fights before being outboxed by an inspired Archie Sharp in October. He is 12-1 (5) and from Leicester and has fought once since Sharp took his unbeaten record. The vacant Commonwealth title is at stake.
James Metcalf vs Jason Welborn (Leeds, June 15)
The archetypal crossroads fight between a veteran who recently mixed in world class and an aspirant who has been looking for a springboard for some time. Liverpool super-welter Metcalf, the son of the legendary Shea Neary, is 19-0 (11) but only five of those came against opponents with winning records. Welborn, from Tividale and 24-7 (7), is one of the UK’s most improved boxers. He reigned domestically at middleweight but dropped back down to 154lbs to challenge then-unified world champion Jarrett Hurd in December, being stopped in four after giving the favourite some trouble. The big question is whether Metcalf can rise to the occasion as they clash for the vacant Commonwealth championship..
Welborn: I’ll be ready for whatever Metcalf brings
Alex Dickinson vs Kamil Sokolowski (Leeds, June 15)
Talking of undefeated Liverpudlians stepping up, at first glance taking on a 6-15-2 (3) Devon-based Pole may not appear to qualify. But for 10-0 (6) Alex Dickinson, Kamil Sokolowski, though ostensibly a journeyman, is by some distance his most dangerous opponent so far. You see, Sokolowski does not come to lose and has only been halted by Dillian Whyte, in just his second pro fight (Whyte’s 12th), and Nathan Gorman. Sokolowski has upset AJ Carter, Sean Turner, Naylor Ball and Nick Webb. In his last fight, in March, he dropped and only narrowly lost to Lucas Browne. Over the scheduled eight rounds, expect him to give the talented Dickinson hell.
Alex Dickinson on sparring Nathan Gorman and David Price
Steven Ward vs Liam Conroy (Belfast, June 21)
Under MTK’s intriguing Tyrone McKenna vs Darragh Foley main event comes this light-heavyweight pearler for the vacant WBO European title. Hometowner and standout amateur Ward is 11-0 (4) and outscored Steve Collins jr last year. Barrow’s Conroy was on a great run at domestic level - beating Joel McIntyre, Chris Hobbs and Miles Shinkwin in consecutive bouts - before being crushed by the streaking Joshua Buatsi in March. 17-4-1 (9), Liam returned with a facile win in May.
Kieran Smith vs Michael McGurk (Glasgow, June 22)
Another MTK production, this super-middleweight clash happens underneath the all-Scottish Commonwealth bantam title fight between Lee McGregor and Scott Allan. "Chopper" Smith, from Greenrigg, is the touted prospect, a 6ft 2in skilful southpaw with a 14-0 (7) record. McGurk has been comparatively overlooked but the Uddingston man is 12-0 (3), has ample ability and, at 25, actually six months younger than his rival, though has suffered from inactivity.