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2018 Preview: Light Middleweights

As January continues, so does Irish-Boxing.com’s previews for the coming year. Tonight it’s a quick look at the light middleweight division.

Read our preview of the flyweight, super flyweight, and bantamweight divisions HERE.

Read our preview of the super bantamweight and featherweight divisions HERE.

Read our preview of the super featherweights HERE.

Read our preview of the lightweights HERE.

Read our preview of the light welterweights HERE.

Read our preview of the welterweights HERE.

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.

Cinderella Story
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.


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie