Luke’s back on top at the Holiday Inn

8 April 2011 – Steve Wellings

Belfast flyweight Luke Wilton will headline the latest Belfast Promotions show, to be held on May 28 at the Holiday Inn venue. Luke will be joined by debutant, and long time spar-mate, Stevie Quinn Jnr, along with Tony Nellins, Ryan Greene and Michael Harvey, as well as a further cast of pugilists yet to be announced.

It’s been a frustrating time of late for headliner Luke. The 22-year-old scored a career-best win on December 18 over Usman Ahmed, as part of the cast supporting Martin Lindsay in his unsuccessful British featherweight title defence at the King’s Hall. Wilton dropped Ahmed and dominated the Derby stylist, gaining revenge for a previous defeat at the hands of the slippery ex-British title challenger and enhancing his own credentials in readiness for a crack at that very belt. Unfortunately nothing came to fruition, until he was offered a chance to clash with Ashley Sexton on the upcoming April 30 card featuring Darren Barker’s European title defence.

Ordinarily, Luke insists he would have jumped right into a scrap with ‘Flash Ash’. A recent illness, however, meant that his preparation would have been less than stellar and Wilton knew that a pop at Sexton -most likely televised on Sky Sports- would have required nothing less than 100 per cent care and attention in the build-up.

“I was offered the Sexton fight but I wasn’t well for about a week so I couldn’t take it,” lamented Luke. “I’d have taken the fight only I had the flu and I couldn’t get out of bed for three days and they will get someone else now. You need to be right for a fight like that and do yourself justice. The big undercards are on Sky so if I didn’t put in a big performance it might not come around again. I hadn’t been doing much sparring either because of the illness.

“There’s talk of Lee Haskins moving down to flyweight and fighting Paul Edwards so that means I’ll be pushed back in the order even further, along with everybody else. My headliner will be an eight-rounder and we are looking at getting somebody who’s above me in the European rankings. I’ve only had two fights last year and this will be my first fight this year, so I’m getting a bit frustrated.

Alan Wilton’s Holiday Inn fight nights have proven popular with the Belfast boxing fraternity. The last one took place in May 2010 with Luke topping the bill in an eight-rounder. Hapless opponent Sali Mustafov failed to make it out of the first round and it is unlikely that Wilton will tolerate a soft touch for his next promotion.

After Luke dismissed Usman Ahmed at the end of last year local rival Jamie Conlan also featured on the bill, stopping Francis Croes later in the evening. Talk continued to brew about an Irish title showdown between the pair and with promoter Frank Maloney on board, it suddenly appeared a realistic proposition.

“I’ve heard nothing of a fight with Jamie Conlan since the last show on December 18,” a disappointed Wilton admitted. “Things might dry up a bit over here now. The show on May 28 should be a good one anyway, so we’ll focus on that for the time being.”

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