2018 Preview – Light Welterweights

After a few days break, we are back with our 2018 previews – and today it’s the turn of the light welterweight.

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.

Light Welterweight – 140lbs (63.5kg)
Irish title – vacant
BUI Celtic title – Tyrone McKenna

Glove Triangle
At the top there are three MTK-managed light welters based in Ireland – Tyrone McKenna [15(6)-0-1], Phil Sutcliffe Jr [14(9)-2(1)], and Anto Upton [16(6)-1(0)] – and pretty much any combination of these would work as a perfect undercard fight for either the Carl Frampton or Katie Taylor undercards this April.

McKenna v Sutcliffe looks to be the main grudge match among the combinations, with Dubliner Sutcliffe recently responding angrily to what he saw as disingenuous call-outs from ‘The Mighty Celt’.

McKenna had been signed to face Tommy Coyle in October, but this fell through due to injury to the Hull boxer. Upton was suggested as a late replacement but it was too short notice. Very keen for a big domestic clash, Upton will hope to get his wish and a Belfast derby in 2018.

Upton holds an amateur win over McKenna – but also suffered a first round stoppage defeat to Sutcliffe in the 2011 Seniors and this may be something he would like to try avenge. Whatever happens, there are plenty of good TV fights here and it would be a shame if we do not see at least one this year.

The Down Under Wonder
Blanchardstown fighter Darragh Foley [14(8)-2(0)] has claimed national titles and belts from the four major governing bodies as well as going through a constant stream of tough fights. While a big homecoming fight against one of the three names above appeals – especially fellow big-hitter Sutcliffe who he has some history with – ‘Super’ looks to be on to a good thing in Sydney and headlines another card in March. Will we ever see him fight in Ireland?

Now managerial stablemates under MTK Global, the all-Dublin fight between Sean Creagh [7(2)-1(1)] and Stephen Carroll [7(1)-0] finally looks like it may happen in 2018. The pair have been linked now for almost two years and now is the time to fight – perhaps for the BUI Celtic title currently held, but expected to soon be vacated, by McKenna. There is a time-limit of sorts on this bout though, with Creagh set to emigrate to Canada in the latter half of the year.

A third Dubliner in the mix is Jake Hanney [5(4)-1(1)]. The East Wall fighter has been part of the conversation with Creagh and Carroll, and one can envision number of fights among the trio. Hanney though needs to somehow find a way to get back to the grindstone, with work commitments limiting his training capabilities in 2017. As well as this then there is Shaun McShane [5(0)-4(0)], and the Donegal fighter has been angling for a first ever fight in Ireland, even mentioning Carroll as a potential opponent in the past.

Across the Atlantic is Larry Fryers [7(2)-0], and the New York-based Monaghan fighter had a very impressive end to the year. With the MTK-managed Mick Conlan becoming a regular at Madison Square Garden, could a fight between Fryers and either of Carroll and Creagh be squeezed onto an undercard?


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