The Irish-Boxing.com Awards – ‘Moment of the Year’

There are some times in the boxing world when a moment, however short, comes along that makes you sit back and think ‘I witnessed that and I’ll remember it forever.’ This year there have been plenty of these moments.

These moments inspire joy, awe, and most importantly remind us why we are fans of the greatest sport in the World

And the nominees are:

Dublin crowd lift Jamie Conlan off canvas
Down twice and badly hurt, both Jamie Conlan’s World title hopes and the future of big time boxing in Ireland seemed to be ebbing away. By the grace of God, Conlan’s conditioning, and the roars of all in attendance, the Belfast man managed to find the guts and the balls to rise after his second knockdown. Indeed the super flyweight hit the canvas with his gloves as almost to suggest ‘let’s give this one more go’ and thus an Irish boxing legend was born.

Peter McDonagh wins third Irish title
While he may have more losses than wins, Peter McDonagh is Ireland’s Cinderella Man. Dedicated to his late sister, the Galway boxer won an emotional third Irish title in November when he overcame Dublin’s Dean Byrne at the National Stadium to add the welterweight belt to his light middleweight and lightweight straps. The win was made all the sweeter as Byrne had labeled the London-raised MGM fighter a ‘Plastic Paddy’ in the lead-up to the clash.

Mick Conlan qualifies for 2016 Olympics
Following two losses, the second of which should have been deemed a TKO win, Mick Conlan’s attempt to qualify for the Rio Olympics via the WSB looked to be over. With just one fight remaining, a disheartened Conlan made the long trip to Venezuela to face Jose Diaz knowing that his fate was out of his hands and that he needed unheralded Dominican Republic boxer, Hector Luis Garcia, to pull off a minor miracle against Azerbaijan’s Magomed Gurbanov. Indeed Conlan almost withdrew from his bout, but thankfully he took to the ring and got the victory because, at the exact same time in Puerto Rico, Garcia pulled off the unthinkable and sent the Belfast man to Rio.

Katie Taylor fights for and wins National Title
Ireland’s most decorated boxer ever had four Senior titles going into this Winter’s National Elite Championships, however all had been achieved by walkover. This all changed when Shauna O’Keefe stepped up to the plate. It was brilliant stuff, as always, from Taylor, while O’Keefe certainly marked herself out as one to watch in the future. In the end it was a comprehensive win for Taylor, but the joy from both fighters at the final bell was something to behold – Taylor for having finally won an Irish title in the ring and O’Keefe for having shared the squared circle with a living legend.

Pajo Hyland’s emotional comeback bout
The Irish boxing community mourned this Summer after the loss of Patrick Hyland Senior. Just over four months after the passing of his father, friend, and trainer, Pajo stepped back into the ring in Boston for the toughest fight of his life. The Jobstown featherweight knocked David Martinez out in the final round that night and his actions afterwards showed true emotion and sportsmanship. Hyland joined his foe on the canvas who told him that his father would be proud, the pair embraced, shed tears in a bitterly sweet yet heart-warming moment.

Frampton-Quigg FINALLY signed and sealed
After years of build-up, months of negotiation, soured relationships, and thousands of praying fans, Frampton v Quigg was finally confirmed on November 2nd. The announcement for the February 27th super-fight at the Manchester Arena came live at tea-time on Sky Sports News in an almost surreal moment. A fight some felt would never be made, Twitter inevitably went into meltdown with the news and the countdown, heightened by a fractitious press tour, now continues into the new year. We can’t wait!


Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie