Back in September of 2013, Stephen Reynolds, who was more rock solid turf than ‘The Block’ ring moniker he adopted, took on the slick and ripped young gun in Declan Trainor.
The pair went to war for then Boxing Ireland Celtic Nations title and produced a fight that if televised would have collected Fight of the Year awards like Lincoln did at the Oscars that year.
It had everything a brilliant narrative, an interesting clash of styles, blood, guts, more action than a Die Hard box set, both fighters scoring knock downs within seconds of each other and a stoppage win for the no-nonsense, chest hair-sporting, simple short-wearing Sligo man.
Six Celtic Clashes later and we have had some domestic dalliances to delight in, but none quite as exciting as the original.
However, Boxing Ireland’s Stephen Sharpe believes that may just be about to change.
Topping Celtic Clash 7, which plays out in Good Counsel GAA Club on November 24th, is a mouthwatering clash between Carl McDonald and Dylan McDonagh and at last Sharpe, who works alongside Leonard Gunning at Boxing Ireland, believes they not only have a fight to match Reynolds v Trainor, but one that could top it.
Granted the styles would have to gel to recreate the action in the ring on that Devenish-hosted fight night five years ago, but Sharpe, one half of the most prolific promotional set up in Dublin in recent years, believes the narrative is better, the stakes are higher, and it’s harder to call.
“The Reynolds v Trainor fight was incredible, but I definitely think there is far more at stake for both boxers and supporters with this one. The atmosphere come November 24th is going to be unbelievable, then you got Carl and Dylan who won’t want to take a backstep,” he told Irish-boxing.com.
“This fight is about more than just boxing, it’s the battle of Jobstown, a community with boxing at its roots. Don’t forget it’s also the Irish title that’s up for grabs and a big opportunity for the winner to push on.”
Hyping a fight is #1 on a promoter’s to-do list, but most agree this match up is one spark away from flames and it’s certainly a fight anyone outside either team could call with any degree of confidence.
The pair would have to be brothers sharing a room for it to get anymore local and it’s the type of clash the term 50/50 was invented for.
“This fight would have to turn the head of anyone with the slightest interest in Irish boxing. In my opinion it qualifies as one of the most evenly matched Irish titles in a long long time. Then you must take into account the external additions such as the fact both lads have boxed in the amateurs and both lads are from the same community of Jobstown in Tallaght.”
“This fight has all the ingredients, it’s going to divide Tallaght down the middle and neither fighter is going to want to give ground, it’s going to be a war.”
Considering both have Boxing Ireland links, it seems an easy fight to make, but with so much on the line, it is the kind of dust-up that can be left on the back-burner.
In cases where two fighters come from the same area, the perceived fall-out of losing to a near neighbour often leaves at least one, if not both. of the protagonists fearing defeat rather than dreaming of victory.
That hasn’t been the case this time around as the Tallaght duo were both keen to take the clash.
“To be 100% honest, both lads always wanted it, they have both been talking about it for the last year. It was just about getting both lads to the point where they qualified for an Irish title. This fight required an Irish title, anything less would be an injustice,” Sharpe added before hammering home the importance of the Irish crown being on the line.
“It is a prize worthy of the fight, it’s the biggest prize domestically and who ever wins puts themselves in the history books of Irish boxing.”
With both fighters being Boxing Ireland-backed it will prove hard for Sharpe or Gunning to go on record with a prediction.
However, while he didn’t call a winner, Sharpe did make a prediction that will prove music to Irish fight fans ears.
“I predict a fucking barnstormer!”