Boxing isn’t all about the current champions, and Ireland is blessed with a number of up-and-comers who will hopefully set the ring alight in the future.
Tragically, one such prospect, young Eamonn Magee Jr, was taken from us this year, and we have named the award in his honour.
A horrendously difficult category to define, we have limited it to professional boxers who are yet to fight in an 8 rounder, and amateur boxers who participated in under-18 (Youth) tournaments this year.
And the nominees are:
Four fights, three stoppages, two stone in weight loss, and one potential future heavyweight star – It’s been a great year for Sean ‘Big Sexy’ Turner. Now with MGM, the power-punching Dubliner has built a cult following with his exciting style and personality. Ready to make the step up, Turner is aiming for a heavyweight showdown with Belfast legend Martin Rogan in 2016.
Singled out by World champ Mick Conlan as a future star, James McGivern has developed a huge reputation. The Belfast bantamweight hotshot, in just his first year of Youth boxing, won gold at the Commonwealth Youth Games and a silver, after a highly dubious decision, at the European Youth Championships. Indeed his European silver in Poland is all the more remarkable considering he was forced to enter the tournament at lightweight.
Anyone who knew Sean Creagh a few years ago may have scoffed at the idea of the Dubliner becoming a pro boxer. However, after a spell on the white collar circuit, the formerly obese Tallaght man has remarkably shrunk down to welterweight and began a career with MGM. This year he posted three wins, culminating in a stoppage victory over Lewis O’Mara in November. Super strong, super fit, and a gym rat to boot, Creaghsy has a bright future.
A potential heir to Paddy Barnes’s throne as Ireland’s number one little man, Monaghan’s Stephen McKenna exploded into prominence this year. Like McGivern, the light flyweight won Commonwealth Youth gold followed by European Youth silver. ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’ then took the step up to the Senior ranks and promptly won the National light flyweight title in just his first fight
It has been a brilliant debut year for the Wexford Garda. In just three fights the heavyweight has debuted, fought in America, progressed to six round fights, headlined his first show, and cemented himself as one of the nice guys of Irish boxing. Someone who doesn’t want to hang around in meaningless fights, ‘Boom Boom Baz’ will be targeting an Irish title in 2016.
Seen by many as the next big Dublin star, MGM’s ‘Pretty Boy’ Geraghty has had a flawless 2015 and has bounced back completely from his loss to Jono Carroll with four stylish victories. The slick southpaw has moved down to super featherweight, and intends to move down again to featherweight, as he aims for multiple titles in the new year
She may have only fought professionally for less than 60 seconds this year, but Kilbarrack’s Lynn Harvey showed enough power, skill, and killer instinct to suggest that she has the tools to become a champion. The Celtic Warrior Gym flyweight, trained by Daniel O’Sullivan, obliterated Ivana Yaneva on her debut in November and will be looking to get fights under her belt in 2016 and get on the fast-track to the top.
Already described by those in-the-know as one of the most talented fighters to ever be developed on these shores, Michael Nevin has annihilated anyone in his path during his first year as a Youth boxer. The welterweight waltzed into the European Youth final in Poland, defeating the reigning World Youth gold medalist in the semis, before being awarded the gold via walkover. With the win, Nevin became the first Irish boxer to win European Schoolboys, Junior, and Youth gold medals, a phenomenal achievement.
Donegal’s Golden Boy has established himself as one of the World’s hottest prospects. ‘El Animal’ scored six Stateside victories this year and the Ballybofey middleweight will be hoping for a similarly active 2016. Already generating huge hype both at home and abroad, irish-boxing.com will eat our hat if he is does not become a World champion.
The Commonwealth Games silver medalist turned pro this year and is already turning heads. The Mark Dunlop-managed lightweight was quickly snapped up by Frank Warren and has made a flawless start in the paid ranks, winning thrice with three stoppages. The Divis youngster’s wins included an eye-catching fourth round stoppage against the super-durable Zoltan Horvath at the Féile Fight Night.