Boxing loves a good comeback story. From James J Braddock, to George Foreman, to Rocky 6, it’s regular that boxers return to the ring looking to complete some unfinished business.
The following nominees have all shown incredible guts to successfully return to the ring this year after defeat, inactivity, or personal loss.
No one would have batted an eye-lid if Pajo Hyland decided to retire from boxing following the untimely death of his father, friend, and trainer – Patrick Senior back in June. However, showing huge mental and emotional strength, the Jobstown boxer returned to the ring in October, defeating David Martinez and setting up a big 2016 where he will be aiming for titles.
John Joe Nevin
The 2012 Olympic silver medalist made an amazing comeback in 2015 following his double leg break hell, and Nevin returned to the ring again this year after nearly ten months inactive. Now under the guidance of the influential Cam Dunkin, it’s been a sparkling and busy return to action for Nevin who had four wins in 3 months this Autumn in America.
The Irish boxing community was shocked this Summer when Belfast featherweight Marco McCullough suffered an almost unbelievable first round stoppage loss to unheralded journeyman Zoltan Kovacs in Germany. To his credit, McCullough has jumped straight back into action and had a comprehensive win in November in a crossroads bout with former EU champion Sergio Prado. The shock loss now recovered from, McCullough is planning for a big 2016.
The cruiser bruiser’s career looked to be over last year following a severely debilitating leg injury. Never one to shirk from a challenge, Timsy got back into the gym and, after a long rehab, the Dublin veteran scored a sweet victory in his return to the ring against long-time rival Michael Sweeney at the National Stadium in November.
The Moate big man suffered a confidence-shattering stoppage defeat to Mathieu Bauderlique in the APB in May, stalling his Olympic hopes. Thankfully, the decorated Westmeath boxer, still just 22, quickly returned looking even better than ever, storming to gold at the European Championships (his second), before claiming silver, and Olympic qualification, at the World Championships in Qatar.
Another man who has stepped back through the ropes following the untimely death of his father. Kavanagh returned to the ring in March with a win before relocating to Europe for family reasons and making a long-awaited Dublin debut in front of a massive home crowd in the National Stadium. A solid 2015 now has Kavanagh nicely poised heading into the new year.
The Tipperary Tornado looked on the verge of retirement last year after a stoppage loss to Jorge Heiland, however he has bounced back brilliantly this year with three wins. Now campaigning a light middleweight, a sparse division, Ireland’s answer to Oscar de la Hoya is seemingly on the cusp of a World title shot.