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4 Talking Points from ‘Clash of the Titans’

We’re a week on from the fantastic ‘Clash of the Titans’ show at the National Stadium and it is time for the latest edition of ‘Talking Points’.

READ: 4 Talking Points from ‘Celtic Clash 7’

READ: 4 Talking Points from ‘The Homecoming’

READ: 4 Talking Points from ‘A Night To Remember’

The series aims to get people talking on issues, ideas, and debates which stem from shows, giving both points of view and allow readers to make up their own minds – and don’t be afraid to give us your views on Facebook and Twitter.

Here we look at a show from Boxing Ireland and Assassin that brought domestic all-Irish clashes to a massive TG4 audience and saw Eric Donovan potentially make a breakthrough into the mainstream.

Is this the new standard or a one-off?
Three domestic title fights, five all-Irish scraps in total, ‘Clash of the Titans’ was dreamland for hardcore fans of the Irish ‘scene’. From 7:00pm it was full-on, with derby after derby, this wasn’t a show dependent on the headline fight. The question is, is this all-Irish fight-filled card the base level for future TV shows? Should televised fights almost have to be domestic dust-ups? Or is there another route to be taken?

The arguments for all-Irish is clear. Domestic fights invariably bring almost guaranteed pride and excitement to the equation and the interest around these bouts is unparalleled. Indeed, with more and more of them, they will help cultivate an actual self-sustaining scene in Ireland. Winners will move on to the next step while losers have further domestics to go into – look at Martin Quinn, look at Karl Kelly.

From the other point of view, the argument would be that, once fighters make their breakthrough in an all-Irish fight that they should be built as stars in their own right. For example, Victor Rabei should now be the firm A-side, the man TG4 are putting their weight behind and tough foreign opposition should be brought in to achieve this rather than further attention-dividing all-Irish clashes with the likes of Noely Murphy or even a Jake Hanney rematch.

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Should debuts feature prominently?
Katelynn Phelan made her professional debut smack bang in the middle of the TG4 broadcast. The Kildare puncher was the one non-domestic fight to feature at the business end of the bill and she dominated Pole Monika Antonik over four one-sided rounds. Compared to the five domestics, there was little tension, could the running order have been different?

Saturday was not unique in terms of Phelan’s placing on the card, with many promoters around the world wanting to give prominence to those making a debut – especially someone as decorated as a World Youth bronze medallist. Such fighters may already have name value and intrigue surrounding them that help draw in fans and viewers. For a promoter, broadcaster, and manager, getting people ‘on board’ with a prospect from the start is also extremely desirable. Then there is the fighter themselves, a pro debut is a special moment and it is always nice to see them have a real sense of occassion.

Some aren’t keen on these fights, however. There is the argument that fighters should have to build into prominent positions on bills and that the top-end of cards should be reserved for actual competitive fights. Last week, for example, would the explosive Martin Quinn v Francy Luzoho clash been better off on live TV over Phelan? Of course there is also the simple issue of scheduling, which may have been the case on Saturday – with a four rounder requiring less space during a broadcast.

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Martin Quinn v Francy Luzoho – who won?
Undoubtedly the fight of the untelevised undercard, Martin Quinn got the nod over Francy Luzoho in a light welterweight Dublin derby. The Crumlin man was awarded a 59-56 verdict from referee Emile Tiedt but there was much debate over who won the bout – indeed, re-raising the question posed after Quinn’s controversial loss to Karl Kelly regarding whether six rounds is enough for an all-Irish fight.


Quinn boxed rather consistently throughout, again showing his underrated boxing skills, and landing heavy shots down the stretch as Luzoho tired. ‘Mighty Martin’ invested in the body well, as well, and applied a lot of forward momentum.

While his output dropped over the fight, Luzoho landed snappy clean shots, with his right hand being a menace.  Then, in the sixth, he flew out of the blocks and visibly staggered Quinn – who would also admit afterwards to being hurt in the second.

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Weighty Decision for Stephen McAfee?
Beaten in the headliner, the bravery of Stephen McAfee can’t be questioned. Stepping down in weight and jumping up in class, he took on Eric Donovan and was stopped in the fourth. The Dubliner has seen his stock rise, however, with Boxing Ireland pledging to support him going forward – the question is, what weight will this be at?

McAfee looked in supreme shape on the scales and seems to be healthily able to make featherweight. With this being his optimum weight it, in theory, would make sense to be the class where he can have the most success – where his power is most effective, where his frame most suitably fits.

However, the Irish featherweight division is rather sparse in terms of domestic level fighters. Is McAfee better served returning to super featherweight where there are big domestics to be made with the likes of Allan Phelan, Aiden Metcalfe, Niall O’Connor and more?

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Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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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