Light Middlewight – 154lbs (69.9kg)
Irish title – Pauly Upton
BUI Celtic title – Craig O’Brien
At the Top
While Sadam Ali may have thrown a spanner in the works, Brisbane-based Kildare boxer Dennis Hogan [26(7)-1(0)-1] still knows his path to a potential world title shot. The WBO #4 will now take on #5 Jimmy Kelly on Saturday April 7th, with the winner looking set to move in line to face the victor from Ali’s mooted title defence against former champ Liam Smith
32-year-old Hogan continues to improve, especially since linking with coach Glenn Rushton, and scored one of the best Irish wins of 2017 against Japanese champion Yuki Nonaka. Kelly presents a tough foe, and their clash at the Brisbane Convention Centre should be an attritional affair, and home advantage could be a crucial boost for ‘Hurricane’ Hogan.
Peter McDonagh [28(3)-28(2)-1] is currently suspended from boxing in Britain, but the 40-year-old remains hopeful of a big fight to round off his amazing career. #18 in the EBU-EU rankings following his sensational win over Shayne Singleton, this belt is his preferred goal, however any belt from the four major rankings bodies would appeal to the Galway fighter. A potential option for the MTK-managed fighter would be a fight on one of stablemate Mick Conlan’s cards at Madison Square Garden – not bad for a fighter written off as a journeyman not too long ago.
Pauly Upton [15(3)-0] currently holds the Irish title, but could relinquish this title soon as he looks to move up in level – with the winner of the vacant BBBoC Celtic title between Sam Ball and Michael McGurk being a potential target. His youger brother Sonny [12(5)-3(1)] has already called for a title fight with BUI Celtic champion Craig O’Brien [7(0)-0] – another Irish title hopeful – and a clash between the technical pair would be a fascinating affair.
O’Brien’s Celtic Warriors gym-mate Bernard Roe [6(1)-0] has entered Ireland’s Last Man Standing, where he will hope to use his speed to his advantage versus heavier opposition. In similar fashion, BUI Celtic welterweight Jay Byrne [6(2)-3(1)] is hungry for domestic fights and may step up if there are opportunities.
Up North there has been talks recently of a clash between Lurgan’s Ryan Greene [7(1)-1(1)] and Belfast’s Ger Healy [6(0)-4(1)-1], which could be a good fight for a Celtic Nations belt. Then there is also Terry Maughan [10(0)-7(6)-2] over in Nottingham and Limerick’s Graham McCormack O’Shea [1(0)-0], another potential fight for later in the year.
Finally there is John Hutchinson [11(3)-2(0)-2], who is currently boxing in South East Asia – however the Donegal boxer is always keen to come back for a big fight and has previously called for an Irish title fight with Upton, and a rubber match with Healy will always appeal.