Belfast middleweight Alfredo Meli reckons that he can break into title contention by the end of the year. The undefeated Immaculata boxer faces Dan Blackwell on Friday night as part of Alan Wilton’s latest Holiday Inn show. This will be Meli’s fourth appearance at the Ormeau Road venue, against an opponent who has lasted the distance with Callum Smith and Anthony Ogogo during a 38-fight career.

“He’s a tough, durable guy who has only been stopped once. He always gives a good account of himself,” said Meli.

“I’ve been sparring with Eamonn O’Kane and a bit with Martin Lindsay before his last fight so I’ll be well prepared for Blackwell.”

Alfredo is keeping tabs on his domestic middleweight rivals. The 23-year-old believes that he is not too far away from tackling the likes of Anthony Fitzgerald or Dublin’s unbeaten Luke Keeler who also boxes on this week’s card.

“I’m going into my seventh fight so I’d like to think I’m at that level and those type of fights will be in the next few steps but I’ll leave that to my promoter. Keeler is fighting on this show against (Festim) Lama who I fought last time at the Holiday Inn so it will be interesting to see how he gets on.

“My father and ‘Nugget’ Nugent have been putting me through a hard training camp as usual so I’ll be ready. I’d like to be fighting for titles by the end of the year,” he added.

Another fighter preparing for Friday night is Paul Hyland Jnr who makes his second professional outing. The Gleann prospect has been busy sparring Eamonn Magee Jnr and James Tennyson and plans on making a quick ascent into title class.

“My debut opponent was a tough handful but I outboxed him. It’s early days but I’m looking at winning Irish titles and beating good guys to move me quickly up the rankings,” said Hyland Jnr.

Further down the card Eamonn Magee Jnr and Ciaran Bates both make their respective debuts at light-welterweight. Ballyclare’s Willie Thompson returns to action and Ugandan heavyweight Kenneth Odeke tackles Moses Matovu.

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