The past week has seen St.Patrick’s Day festivities across the world as the 80million strong Irish diaspora – and all those that wished they were Irish – celebrated everything to do with Ireland. In terms of boxing, Madison Square Garden was lit up by Pajo Hyland and Spike O’Sullivan and soon Brooklyn will play host to Andy Lee’s first wold title defence. While there is something of an Irish invasion occurring in America at the moment, there are also highly successful boxers of Irish heritage looking to reach the top of their respective decisions. Here,irish-boxing.com profiles three Irish-Americans/Canadians who are looking to add their names to the long list of world champion fighters who can claim Irish heritage.
Born in Long Beach, New York with deep Navan roots, ‘Irish Seanie’ is a throwback fighter who never says no to a war. Monaghan [23(15)-0] turned professional at 28 with little amateur experience and was initially dismissed as a crude brawler. Despite this lack of experience, the popular ticket seller improved greatly with each passing fight and has developed a fan-friendly, come-forward style centred around his bludgeoning body punching. This style landed him the WBC Continental Americas title in 2012 and he has since defended it 6 times. Now signed to promotional behemoth Top Rank, the 33 year old former bricklayer has propelled himself up the rankings of all four major sanctioning bodies (WBA #3, WBC #6, IBF #6, WBO #13). With Top Rank and Al Haymon currently expanding into the U.S. terrestrial television market, and Monaghan seemingly getting better every fight, it looks like the future is bright for ‘Irish Seanie.’
A slick southpaw, O’Connor had a stellar amateur career where he won the 2008 U.S. Golden Gloves as well as the 2008 U.S. National Amateur Championships. He also travelled to the 2008 Olympics as a reserve. A massive Celtic fan, ‘Danny Bhoy’ comes from Framingham, Massachusetts and has a massive following in the Boston area. O’Connor initially retired in 2013 after a split-decision loss to former world champion Vivian Harris, however he returned last October with an impressive knock-out of Andrew Farmer. Turning 30 at the end of the month, O’Connor [24(8)-2(0)] is now aiming to have one last shot at the big time with Ken Casey and Murphy’s Boxing, and is looking to continue his resurgence when fights again on April 10th against the veteran Michael Clark [44(18)-12(9)-1].
The only man on this list to have fought in the land of his ancestors having boxed in Limerick and Castlebar, on Andy Lee and Bernard Dunne undercards respectively, back in 2008. From Orangeville, near Toronto, Canada, the undefeated McGuinness [20(9)-0-1] is the first ever man to win NABA titles at three weights (Lightweight, Super Featherweight and Featherweight) – and the exciting boxer was being touted for world titles a few years ago. His career was unfortunately derailed for eighteen months after a serious ankle injury and the tragic death of his former manager. Still only 27, and now with Murphy’s Boxing, McGuinness looks to get his career back on track and shoot himself up the rankings with a win on his return to the ring against Luis Juarez [19(4)-8(3)] on March 28th.