Professional boxing couldn’t exist were it not for the hard work of the promoters and managers, big and small, who put on shows, pay fighters, and build stars up and down this island.
Often a thankless task, irish-boxing.com are recognising the men in the suits who allow our brilliant boxers do their work and exhibit their talents.
2015 saw the 30th anniversary of one of the best nights in Irish boxing history, McGuigan-Pedroza at Loftus Road, and we have named this award in honour of the mastermind behind it all – Barney Eastwood.
And the nominees are:
The McGuigans have had a good year, from putting on the electric Frampton-Avalos show in February to teaming up with U.S. kingpin Al Haymon and, of course, negotiating Frampton-Quigg and achieving much-improved terms for their man. And it’s not all about ‘The Jackal’ either, with the burgeoning outfit expanding into Scotland with ‘Lift Off’ and putting on one of the best small-hall shows of the year with ‘All on the Line’ in the Waterfront Hall.
Where the hell have MGM come from? Now one of the largest outfits on the continent, the Puerto Banús group have over 50 fighters on there books. In July they dipped their toe into promoting and helped reinvigorate the Irish scene with ‘New Beginning’ at the National Stadium, and followed it up with the brilliant ‘Second Coming.’ With gyms in Marbella, Scotland, Birmingham, Manchester, and rumours of more to follow in Liverpool and Dublin, as well as a first World title win with Liam Smith, it promises to get even bigger for MGM in 2016.
From training the fighters to organising the shows himself, Tony Davitt plays a crucial role in the capital. This year he ran three shows in the Red Cow Moran Hotel, two headlined by Phil Sutcliffe Jr in supposed ‘tests’ which he passed with flying colours, as well as a brilliant card in November that featured competitive fights right throughout the night. Small hall as it should be.
Eddie Hearn’s British behemoth have been somewhat quiet this year with no shows on the island. Nevertheless, two Celtic Warrior stars, Jono Carroll and Luke Keeler have obtained contracts as well as Belfast phenomenon Ryan Burnett who won the British title on his Sky debut last night. Hearn also granted Spike O’Sullivan’s longstanding wish of a batte with Chris Eubank Jr, as well as the big one – being one half of the negotiations for the Frampton-Quigg mega-fight.
The U.S East Coast has always been a fruitful place for Irish fighters, and Murphy’s Boxing have built on this in 2015. The growing non-for-profit organisation headed by Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphy’s put on/contributed heavily to 5 shows this year and helped secure regular fights for Spike O’Sullivan, Michael McLaughlin, and Stephen Ormond, give a debut to Paddy Irwin, as well as promoting Irish-American stars Danny O’Connor and Logan McGuinness.
The most experienced promoter on these shores, Magee has been guiding two of Ireland’s hottest prospects – Phil Sutcliffe Jr and Tommy McCarthy – and the pair became headline material this year. 15 saw Young Phil score two highly impressive wins against Terry Needham and Yoann Portailler, while Big Tommy overcame the experienced and game Courtney Fry. Both are now on course for big, title-filled, 2016s.
Belfast’s small hall king was very busy in 2015, running four shows in the Titanic City. Dunlop has guided James Tennyson to a Celtic title, moved both Paul Hyland Jr and James Tennyson up the rankings, and added Commonwealth silver medalist Joe Fitzpatrick to his high quality stable. In addition his fighters have feature on Cyclone undercards and as far afield as Estonia.
The Malta Boxing Commission
Gianluca Di Caro’s outfit have certainly made a splash on the Irish scene this year with three Ulster shows featuring a host of fan favourites including Tommy Tolan, Philip Townley, and Joe Hillerby. While the quality may not be as high as some other cards, the MBC provides fight opportunities for Irish boxers, and pugilistic action for fight fans.