Dropkick Murphys Announce Boston Boxing Matches For Final Shows of Summer Tour With Flogging Molly

Gregory Nolan
Dropkick Murphys

Mark "Bazooka" DeLuca will take on Walter "Two Guns" Wright for the final date of 16-show run.

The Dropkick Murphys are bringing the fight to their upcoming tour with Flogging Molly, wrapping up their 16-date run with a concert that includes a number of boxing matches promoted by longtime Dropkick Murphy's bassist, songwriter and singer Ken Casey.

The card at the Bank Of New Hampshire Pavilion in Gilford on June 23 will include fighters from Murphy's Boxing which Casey launched in 2012 after several years helping promote fights for Boston lightweight fighter Danny O'Connor, who served as an alternate in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

"He was a friend and I thought I could promote him and help him get some press," Casey tells Billboard. "One thing led to another and I was putting on boxing shows for him and getting people to come watch him fight. I like a challenge and it brought me back to the early days of the band, handing out flyers and really having to work to get your name out."

Murphys Boxing works with other fight promoters like Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions and counts 10 world-ranked fighters on its roster. Most of Casey's boxers hail from Boston or Ireland and include undefeated TJ "The Power" Doheny, 10-0 heavyweight champ Niall "Boom Boom" Kennedy and national Golden Gloves champion Danny "Bhoy" O'Connor.

"It's a lot of labor and a lot of love," says Casey who estimates he stages eight to 10 fight nights per year. Casey has promoted boxing matches around the band's St Patrick's Day shows in Boston at the House of Blues, with Danny O'Connor winning by decision against opponent Steve Claggett.

Like other shows, Casey says the June 23 tour finale will alternate matches between music sets. The fight will include several four and six round fights, as well as an eight-round fight and a final 12-round main event fight between Murphy's fighter Mark "Bazooka" DeLuca (21-0) and Walter "Two Guns" Wright (16-4)

"Watch a band, then watch a fight, then watch a band and then watch a fight — people love it," Casey tells Billboard. "I'm a huge boxing fan and keep an eye on who is coming up in boxing."

He said he signs fighters like indie labels sign artists, offering "a little more TLC and a lot more love" than the majors. "The big promoters will tell you 'you lose a fight and I'll cut you,'" just like a label will drop an artist if one of their songs flop. 

Manager Jeff Castelaz with Cast Management says the band has already made its imprint on baseball with the song "Tessie" and hockey with their Boston Bruins-anthem "Time to Go" — their popular track "Shipping Up To Boston" is also played at every Boston Red Sox game  — so it only made sense to incorporate boxing into their business plan. Besides, they also have a boxing song, "Warrior's Code" dedicated to old-school boxer Mickey Ward from Lowell, Massachusetts.

"And they've done concerts at baseball stadiums and hockey arenas, but they always liked the idea of having boxing actually happen at a Dropkick Murphys show," Castelaz said. "So we started putting boxing shows into the middle of the rock and roll experience and it turned out really well. "

The Dropkick Murphys kick off their co-headline tour with Flogging Molly June 1 at Jacobs Pavilion in Cleveland. For more information and to buy tickets, visit dropkickmurphys.com.