A late withdrawal ensured a last minute swap in Dublin today. Regardless though, it looks to be a strong field for the groundbreaking domestic tournament.
The Prizefighter-style night at the National Stadium on Saturday March 3rd pits eight Irish fighters against each other over three-round fights, with the single-elimination bracket going from quarters to semis and then to the grand final.
Ireland’s Last Man Standing – which will first be contested at middleweight (165lbs catchweight) – has a prize pool of €50,000, with the eventual winner taking home €25,000 along with an additional €5,000 for their amateur club.
There has been much speculation over the past month regarding the line-up – and two of the names were revealed last week – and the full roster was formally announced at a press conference this afternoon at the National Stadium in Dublin.
The eight confirmed so far are:
Chris Blaney [9(3)-0] – Meath
Henry Coyle [19(12)-2(2)] – Mayo
Thomas Finnegan [2(0)-0] – Dublin
Pádraig McCrory [2(1)-0] – Belfast
Sean McGlinchey [2(0)-0] – Derry
Alfredo Meli [14(3)-0-1] – Belfast
Bernard Roe [6(1)-0] – Dublin
Roy Sheahan [debutant] – Kildare
Four-time Senior champion and EU gold medalist Sheahan had been revealed last week by Irish-Boxing.com, while Celtic Warriors fighter Roe was announced officially at the weekend.
The remaining five represent a broad spread of career stages, styles, and locations.
The Ricky Hatton-trained Blaney will be looking to build on his BUI Celtic title win last November by taking top prize and the mandatory challenger spot for Irish champion Luke Keeler.
Former amateur rivals McCrory and McGlinchey will both be tipped to take the tournament, and a potential rematch for the Ulster duo could loom.
Belfast’s Meli has had his wish granted and been handed a spot in the line-up, and the Mac man is in line to become the first MTK-managed fighter to feature on a Boxing Union of Ireland-sanctioned show since 2015.
Then there is veteran Coyle who returns after over four years out and is a real unknown quantity.
Finally there is Finnegan, with the Dubliner stepping in today following the late withdrawal of an unnamed fighter.
The draw for the tournament will take place at a to-be-confirmed date in February.
Also featuring in undercard bouts in seven and a half weeks time will be Victor Rabei, Vladimir Belujsky, and Craig O’Brien, with more still to be announced.
Clarification: Seven fighters had been confirmed beforehand and this was initially published, however Thomas Finnegan was subsequently confirmed during the press conference.