“Irish boxing doesn’t do ideal situations” but McDonald v McDonagh offers hope


When necessity speaks, it demands, and in this case it demanded one of the most intriguing Irish title fights of recent times to be made.

Carl McDonald [4(0)-2(0)] versus Dylan McDonagh [3(1)-1(0)] is a mouthwatering prospect. A clash that has fans salivating.

Not only is it impossible call, it’s two well liked neighbours with entertaining approaches going to war for the right to be crowned pound-for-pound king of Jobstown, Tallaght, and the bantamweight ruler in Ireland.

In a move that frustrates some fight followers, this is the kind of ‘makes perfect sense’ clash that can be left to build – and, in countless cases, left to simmer until all the goodness boils over the edge of the pot.

In that regard, this ‘Celtic Clash 7’ bill topper looks like Boxing Ireland giving back to the fans.

However, while the most prolific promotional company currently active in Ireland have expressed a fan-like excitement when discussing the bout, they admit they could see the sense in waiting.

Yet waiting was not an option, not because of fan demand, but because of the current small hall climate.

“I suppose some might say that, in an ideal situation, it could have been let simmer for a while longer but unfortunately at present Irish boxing doesn’t do ideal situations,” a frank Stephen Sharpe told Irish-Boxing.com.

Dubliner Sharpe, who works alongside London-based Sligonian Leonard Gunning, explained that the traditional ‘fight journeymen for 10 fights route’ is no longer sustainable for emerging talent in Ireland.

“With the current costs of running shows in the South of Ireland, neither fighters nor promoters can sustain the traditional record-building model that exists in professional boxing.”

“Saying that, in terms Carl and Dylan, they are operating at the lighter weights where domestic opponents are very limited.”

“In terms of the fan appetite for the fight, I bet a lot of people didn’t think the fight could be made. With both lads from the same community it sometimes makes it more than just about boxing, it’s going to be difficult for whoever comes out on the losing side.”

While the move to match Irish fighters earlier may not have its roots in the most positive of scenarios, from the outside looking in it seems more than positive for the game and indeed for Irish fight fans.

Indeed, the fighters themselves may benefit. In terms of this Irish title fight, both D34 punchers get the chance to become an Irish champion and both will increase their profile significantly.

“This fight gives them the opportunity to win an Irish title and opens up opportunities further afield for the winner. Neither of the lads are interested in padding their records as both have proved by taking fights on Matchroom cards in England, so you could ask what’s the point in fluting around?”

While one will come away with a title and two will emerge with a higher profile, Sharpe argues both should also leave the Good Counsel GAA hall in Drimnagh on November 24th with a massive amount of respect.

“Either Carl or Dylan or both could have found a number of excuses to turn down the fight but they didn’t and they need to be given a lot of respect for that. Especially when you see other fighters unwilling to face fellow fighters from the same patch.”

“It’s the exact same situation you have Allan Phelan and Eric Donovan, both from Kildare, and Eric still can’t find an opponent to fight him for an Irish title fight…”

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