By Joe O’Neill
All-Irish Fights for 2015 (Part 1)
Professional boxing on this island is currently on the rise with more and more shows occurring across the land. Add to this a number of Irish fighters plying their trade in Britain, America and Australia, one can see that Irish boxing is alive and well. With more shows and more boxers comes the opportunity for more Irish rivalries, grudges and, most importantly, all-Irish fights. With this in mind, in the first of two parts, irish-boxing.com postulates some all-Irish fights, at all levels, that would certainly get the pulses racing.
Jono Carroll -v- Declan Geraghty
A rematch of the Boxing Union of Ireland’s 2014 ‘Fight of the Year’ is top of most Irish fight fans’ wishlist. The original fight last November between ‘King Kong’ Carroll and ‘Pretty Boy’ Geraghty was a highly entertaining brawl that ended during the forth and final round when Geraghty was disqualified for use of the head. Crumlin man Geraghty was up 30-28 on the scorecard after three rounds however with both boxers taking and giving countless heavy shots, most saw it too close to call.
As winner, Carroll was given a place in Prizefighter Lightweights the following month and ‘King Kong’ duly won this tournament and the €40,000 prize, taking his record to 6(1)-0. The Finglas-born, Dunshaughlin-based fighter would also be later given a lucrative three year contract with Matchroom Promotions. 24 year old Geraghty, who fell to 6(1)-1(0), has claimed that had he not made a “silly mistake” in his war with Carroll he would have won Prizefighter at a canter. Few would argue with this assertion.
In their explosive fight, Carroll, who had previously claimed ‘Pretty Boy’ wouldn’t fight him over six rounds, goaded Geraghty into a brawl. Many would assume that former amateur elite and 2009 EU silver medallist Geraghty would win a pure boxing match. However, as shown in his Prizefighter win, 22 year old Carroll’s boxing skills should not be discounted.
When the pair fought their Dublin derby at the 3Arena last November it came after headliner Matt Macklin’s fight, meaning that many in attendance had already left the stadium. A rematch would surely be for an Irish title and would get the attention it deserves.
Willie Casey -v- Patrick Hyland
If revenge is a dish best served cold then a fight in 2015 between Hyland and Casey needs to be made. It has been over four years since Casey knocked out Hyland’s younger brother, Paul, in the fourth round for the European super bantamweight title. This was the first ever European title fight between two Irishmen and has yet to be repeated. If Casey and the elder Hyland were to fight it would most likely be for an Irish title instead, but it would still give ‘Pajo’ the opportunity to avenge his brother’s defeat.
Casey’s European title win came during an amazing period for the Southill man that also saw him defeat Canadian champion Tyson Cave, win Prizefighter and unsuccessfully challenge for the world title against Cuban maestro Guillermo Rigondeaux. Now 33, Casey [16(10)-3(2)] is aiming for one more shot at the big time and a fight with Jobstown native Hyland [29(13)-1(0)] would provide the first step.
‘Big Bang’ Casey certainly lives up to his nickname and is a heavy-handed come-forward fighter. Hyland underlined his quality, both in terms of boxing skills and heart, in Las Vegas in 2012 where he pushed then-WBA interim champ Javier Fortuna all the way in a fantastic fight. A fight between the pair would constitute a fascinating clash of styles
31 year old Hyland already requested for this fight to be made on the 3Arena card last November and it will surely happen sooner or later. Indeed if WBO Middleweight champion Andy Lee is granted his wish of defending in his, and Casey’s, home city of Limerick, ‘Big Bang’ versus ‘The Punisher’ would constitute the perfect co-headliner.
Paul Quinn -v- Daniel McShane
An all-Ulster clash between Paul ‘The Mighty’ Quinn and Daniel ‘Insane’ McShane for an Irish title has the potential to be one of the best small hall headline fights for many a year. The two fighters possess similar attacking styles which could result in a toe-to-toe war. 21 year old McShane [9(3)-0], is an all-action fighter who relentlessly attacks the body. Annalong southpaw Quinn [6(3)-0], is similarly aggressive although he can also box at distance and holds a two inch height advantage.
In addition to their fan-friendly styles, last year saw the beginnings of a feud between the two undefeated northerners. Belfast man McShane [9(3)-0] challenged Quinn, via irish-boxing.com, to “grow a set of balls” and agree to a fight with him. 24 year old Quinn responded to this challenge with incredulity declaring “why would I be afraid of him? Why would he suggest that? What has he done to worry me? I am the better fighter and I have proved that. I am the main man when it comes to us” and that, if McShane wants to make the fight, “all he has to do is go through the right channels.”
A potential stumbling block is Quinn’s insistence that it would have to be at featherweight. However one would assume that McShane, a super featherweight, would do his utmost to drop the requisite 4lbs. If terms are agreed, a barnstorming battle could materialise.
John Hutchinson -v- Ger Healy
If their first two fights are anything to go by, a rubber match between the ‘Buncrana Banger’ and ‘Boom Boom’ Healy would be a cracking fight. Their first bout in 2012, over four rounds, was won by Hutchinson (although Belfast man Healy still disputes this decision). Their highly anticipated 8-round rematch the following year ended in a technical draw when an accidental clash of heads left ‘Boom Boom’ with a gaping head wound requiring fifteen stitches. This incensed Healy who claimed that there was nothing accidental about the clash and that 28 year old Hutchinson is a reckless fighter.
Switch-hitter Healy [4(0)-4(1)
There is a certain amount bad blood between the Ulster pair and a ten round fight would be a back-and-forth battle – perfect for any of the many small hall shows that are currently occurring all over the island.