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2019 Preview – Light Fly, Flyweight, Super Fly

Over the next few days, Irish-Boxing.com plan to go through all the divisions and take a look ahead for 2019.

What domestic dust-ups can be made? Who is set for a breakthrough? What’s next for the big stars? – All will be discussed in our preview series.

First up it’s a look at the little men and women – the light flys, the flyweights, and the super flys.

Light Flyweight – 108lbs (48.9kg)

Flyweight – 112lbs (50.8kg)

Super Flyweight – 115lbs (52.2kg)

Ladies First
There are now five active Irish female professional boxers, the most ever. At light fly, Lynn Harvey reversed her retirement decision and the Kilbarrack KO artist now sports a healthy-looking 5(4)-1(0) record. ‘The Hunter’ was close to a fight with top German Sarah Bormann towards the end of the year but this fell through. However, a big away fight for the Jay Byrne-managed puncher would look to be on the cards in 2019.

Update: Since posting Harvey has indeed taken a big away fight and will face Spaniard Catalina Diaz for the European title in Cadiz on February 27th.

Belfast’s Cathy McAleer [1(0)-0] debuted in November at the age of 40 and the former karate and kickboxing star, now trained by John Breen, hopes to be fast-tracked. Linking up with Mark Dunlop, the super flyweight will certainly be kept busy, negotiating women’s boxing’s biggest difficulty, and Welsh European champion Ashley Brace can be a target. An all-Irish clash with Harvey also appeals although the disparity in weight may be too much.

Back To The Top
While there has been no official announcement, Jamie Conlan [19(11)-1(1)] looks to have left the fighting side of the sport but Paddy Barnes [5(1)-1(1)] is determined to bounce back from his world title loss. The Cliftonville flyweight has a big fights only mantra and is not keen at all on domestic clashes, instead wanting to return almost immediately to world title fights. IBF champ Moruti Mthalane is his preferred option but WBC titleholder and stablemate Charlie Edwards looks to be a more natural fight – although whether Edwards will want to face Barnes after the Irishman’s dismissal of his younger brother Sunny’s challenge, remains to be seen. Money does talk, however.

Domestic Dominance
Belfast’s Luke Wilton [18(7)-5(1)-1] returned from a year-and-a-half out back in November with a good win over Georgi Georgiev and continues his comeback on the Ulster Hall show next month. ‘Winky’ is keen to move towards a shot at a belt at super flyweight with both the British and Commonwealth titles vacant. Closer to home, then, there is Dylan McDonagh [3(1)-2(0)] and maybe a fight for the inaugural BBBoC Celtic 115lbs title. The Dubliner weighed in just over super fly for his Irish super bantamweight title fight in November but still put up a strong showing against Carl McDonald and could do serious damage at the lighter weight

New Faces
This year we welcome Cork teenager Owen McDonagh into the pros. Only 18, the super fly former amateur international has linked up with Boxing Ireland Promotions and looks set to debut on ‘Celtic Clash 8’.

Finally there is the talented Eoin McGrath who unfortunately saw two debut dates fall through in 2018. Now training with Eddie Hyland, it is hoped that the Kildare youngster can get going this year


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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