As we regularly say here on Irish-Boxing.com, a big factor in the success of a show is the suitability of the opponents brought in for Irish fighters.
The most successful shows will always feature competitive fights, and these are the fights which will help Irish boxers develop.
As part of a new feature on Irish boxing that follows on from the Opponent Scout Report of last year, we will go through the opponents which are being brought in for Irish fight cards.
Looking at each fight on its own merits, we will analyse the fighters that will man the opposite corner on each and every Irish fight card.
Matchmaking is, of course, an immensely difficult job and it would be unreasonable to expect each and every fight on a card to be the ‘right’ fight for the home fighter.
That said, to keep our readers informed, we will discuss in detail here and bring attention to the opposition that will be testing Irish boxing stars – whether they be good, bad, or indifferent.
Starting us off is the MHD Promotions ‘Inquisition’ dinner show at the Europa Hotel in Belfast tomorrow night (Saturday February 4th).
Dubliner Lynn Harvey [1(1)-1(0)] makes a swift return to action following her loss to Mary Romero, and the Kilbarrack woman will make the step down to light flyweight for a four rounder. As with any prospect who loses early in their career, the level of opponent is largely irrelevant for any comeback fight. The purpose of the bout is merely to get back to winning ways and go through all the assorted motions of having a fight.
For Harvey, this comeback will come against Agnes Draxler [9(1)-13(8)]. Despite being 14 years the junior of 35 year old Harvey, ‘Mini’ Draxler is very experienced, boxing professionally since her mid teens. Looking at footage, the Central European boxer will provide a relatively orthodox opponent and a straightforward win. That said, especially following today’s weigh-in, it looks likely that the comeback bout could be quick and that it will be an early knockout return for Harvey.
The Hungarian, weighing in in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, came in a half a stone lighter than Harvey, an astronomical difference in weight, especially in the lighter classes. For comparison, for Harvey’s controversial bout with Romero, where she was outsized in the ring, she weighed in 4 pounds lighter than the Spaniard.
Another Dubliner, Jay Byrne [2(1)-0], also boxes on the bill in what will be his final four rounder. The Loughlinstown 30 year old faces Hungarian middleweight Sandor Jozsa [3(0)-1(1)-1] for whom there is no footage available and therefore must not be underestimated
On the basis of size alone, it should provide something of a test for Byrne, a natural welterweight who has tailored his camp and weight cut to come in heavier for this fight.
Looking into the Magyar’s record, he turned pro last October and scored three quick wins in gym fights. While triangle theories cant always be trusted, one of these victories came against Alexander Farkas, who himself holds a victory over Gabor Ambrus – Byrne’s first pro opponent. Then, in his first fight outside Hungary, Jozsa was stopped in the first round by Scot Kieran Smith – however ringside reports from that night queried the legitimacy of the bodyshot that put him down, commenting how it seemed to stray low. Since then he has fought to a six round draw with Ferenc Katona – who himself was knocked out by Darren Cruise last Summer.
Crowd-favourite Feargal McCrory [3(1)-0] will also bring the noise in what will be his final fight at lightweight and his final four rounder. Before moving down for a minor super featherweight eight-round title fight in April, ‘Fearless’ Feargal will face Gyula Tallosi [12(8)-17(8)].
While the Hungarian is not as strong as McCrory’s previous opponent, Ivailo Boyanov, he still comes to fight and will hold a size advantage on the night. The Tyrone fighter has also stated his desire to show off his boxing skill rather than his proven ability to brawl, and Tallosi should provide him the opportunity as well as a nice warm-up fight ahead of his big headline slot in April.
What looks to be a guaranteed good fight is Ronnie Clark [17(10)-4(1)-2] v Rafael Castillo [14(6)-29(13)-3]. The Scottish super featherweight is always entertaining and lost a in a close British title fight last time out. He returns over six against Castillo, a Nicaraguan who impressed in November against Clark’s stable mate James Tennyson, showing plenty of ambition and attacking skill.
Top prospect Joe Fitzpatrick [6(4)-0] makes the step up to six rounds for the first time on the card. The Belfast lightweight takes on Hungarian Tamas Laska [16(12)-12(5)-1].
The Divis fighter faced Laska’s stablemate, Tallosi, last time out, winning a scrappy short-notice fight. Manager Dunlop claims that, with this inside knowledge from Tallosi, Laska is coming to cause an upset.
Hopefully this is the case, as in his previous fights with Irish boxers, Laska has proven himself to be a negative, awkward boxer who is not conducive to entertaining contests and looks to merely survive by whatever means possible
For 2014 Commonwealth silver medalist Fitzpatrick, in what will be his seventh pro fight, it seems to be a disappointing match-up against an opponent who is inferior to ‘The Dragon’s’ past two foes – Tallosi and, especially, Jordan Ellison.
Finally there is the headliner – Paul Hyland Jr [13(4)-0].
The Belfast lightweight steps up to ten rounds for the first time on what will be his second successive headline fight,
This bout should have been for the Irish title against Gearoid Clancy, only for the Boxing Union of Ireland to reject the Sydney-based Galwiegan as an acceptable opponent for an Irish title fight. Dunlop would see numerous other potential opponents turn down the fight, but finally secured a willing foe last week – Giovanni Gallovich [8(1)-0].
No footage is available of the unbeaten Hungarian and therefore he can not be underestimated – although the fact that he weighed in 5 pounds lower than Hyland is not an encouraging sign. Turning pro just two months ago, the 23 year old has quickly built a record in his home country and the stocky fighter enters the clash with the reputation of a come-forward bruiser who looks to throw big overhands.
This early building of an unbeaten record is quite a regular occurrence in Hungary, with fighters then starting to take on prospect rack up the losses. However, as has already been said, Gallovich is a complete unknown quantity – and for all we know, he could turn out to be another Zoltan Szabo.
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: