AmateurFeaturesHeadline NewsSocial Media

Breakthrough of the Year – The Smackwear Awards 2018

Every boxer hopes to end a year in a better position than which they started but some boxers have gone above and beyond in 2018.

There have been plenty of major scalps, statements made, levels jumped, and points proven.

Below we pick out the FIVE Irish fighters that have made the biggest breakthroughs in 2018.

Breakthrough of the Year

Luke Keeler
Becoming a full-time pro and implementing wide-scale changes under Pete Taylor, Keeler looked a different animal when he dominated Conrad Cummings in April. Injuries have not really allowed him to build on this statement win but the Dubliner will return in 2019 as one to watch rather than just another domestic fighter.


Jono Carroll
While his world title eliminator ended in a draw, it cannot be denied that the Jono Carroll ‘package’ worked wonders this year. Following an entertaining rematch stoppage win over Deco Geraghty, the charismatic Dubliner has risen his own profile substantially and essentially talked and tweeted himself into a Matchroom contract and a world title fight with Tevin Farmer.

jono carroll

Tyrone McCullagh
Following a period of extreme frustration, the Derry super bantam was given a glimmer of light last December when he destroyed German Tom Tran and he followed this up with two masterclasses in 2018. ‘White Chocolate’ put on exhibitions against Scottish champ Joe Ham and English Josh Kennedy to win the Celtic and WBO European belts and may not be too far from a world tilt.


Kieran Molloy
The Galway welterweight established himself as a star of the Irish amateur team. Defeating four-time Senior champion Dean Walsh en-route to his maiden domestic crown, Molloy would impress internationally throughout the year before claiming a major medal at the first time of asking last month when he struck bronze at the European Union Championships.


Kurt Walker
The Lisburn bantamweight claimed silver at the Commonwealth Games before scoring a major result at the European Union Championships. Walker would defeat long-term rival Peter McGrail in the final to take gold, finally overcoming the Scouser and marking himself out as the man to beat on the continent.

kurt walker

[yop_poll id=”48″]

You can vote in the earlier polls below:

Club of the Year

The Freddie Gilroy Young Boxer of the Year

The Micky Ward Round of the Year

The Patrick Hyland Sr Trainer of the Year

Comeback of the Year

The Alejandro González Jr Opponent of the Year

The Sean Mannion Gallant Defeat of the Year

Pro Debut of the Year


logo may

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: