Below we look at both the super middleweight and light heavyweight divisions which are quite for Irish boxers internationally but primed for a domestic explosion.
Super Middleweight – 168lbs (77.2kg)
Vladimir Belujsky [6(6)-1(0)-1] saw a short-notice WBO Youth title fight with James Kraft fall through just days beforehand in December but the Cork KO artist looks set to get the opportunity to face the German prospect early this year. With a full camp, the fight becomes even more winnable for ‘The Slovak Rebel’ and it could set up a massive year for him.
Belfast’s Padraig McCrory [6(3)-0] marked himself out as one of Ireland’s best prospects this year but, while he has been matched tough, ‘The Hammer’ really needs to be given the opportunity to step up through the rounds. A six with Irish-Boxing.com favourite Anthony Fox would be a good measure of his ambitions and, if he can get through this, it can be time to start thinking about titles.
As an aside, a fight between McCrory and Belujsky would be a bombs away war and has Fight of the Year potential.
Up The Déise
Waterford duo Craig McCarthy [5(0)-0] and Barry Barnes [1(0)-0] will both surely benefit from a number of cards in Waterford this year. For McCarthy it’s about stepping things up to six and eight rounders while Barnes needs to get busy having gone almost a year now since fighting last .
Taylor McGoldrick [2(0)-0] has been out the past six months through injury and it is hoped the Tyrone fighter can get back into action soon and continue building. Then there is Tipp puncher Paddy Clavin who has signed up with Boxing Ireland Promotions and is expected to debut on the soon-to-be-announced ‘Celtic Clash 8’ card.
Light Heavyweight – 175lbs (79.4kg)
The last man to hold the Irish title, Paddy McDonagh [11(0)-2(0)], goes for the BBBoC Celtic title in Wales on March 9th. A tough fight following over a year and a half out, Mullingar’s McDonagh has opted to take a chance rather than attempting to build into such a fight -perhaps a wise move considering his difficulties in building momentum over the years.
Regardless of who wins this clash, Newtownabbey’s Steven Ward [9(3)-0] will be targeting them. The Commonwealth silver medallist stepped up to eight and ten round fights in 2018 and picked up the BUI Celtic title. The BBBoC equivalent will be a nice next step and then Ward can look to the British title which Joshua Buatsi is expected to win and vacate in the coming months.
On the other side of the world, Conor Wallace [3(2)-0] is moving fast in Australia and will box for the Queensland title next time out with the Australian title sure to follow soon. From there, who knows? A fight for a rankings title and a spot in the Top 15 in a major organisation is easier to come by Down Under and this looks to be the path that the Newry fighter will take.
Back in the Ring
David Bailey [7(1)-0] has not fought since his Irish title disappointment but the Galway puncher still can make an impact in the sport should he choose to keep going.
Then there is Christian Scuvie [1(0)-0] who has not fought since his debut on ‘Celtic Clash 5’. Always in the gym, hopefully we can see him in the ring in 2019.