It was an unprecedented and bumper 12 months for Irish boxing at elite level, but one that could be topped in 2019.
Despite the fact the pro season only really kicks into gear in Spring we already have four world title fights to look forward to – and with one already in the bag.
TJ Doheny successfully defended his IBF bantamweight belt in January against Japanese voluntary Ryohei Takahashi and a winning streak will hopefully begin next week.
The title fights come thick and fast and, by the time May comes around, Ireland could be boasting an unprecedented four reigning world champions as well as two unified ring rulers – if results go our way.
First up is the Queen of boxing Katie Taylor [12(5)-0] v Rose Volante [14(8)-0] in a high profile unification bout.
The Bray native will be looking to take a massive step toward undisputed status by adding a third world title belt to collection.
The London 2012 star puts her IBF and WBA titles on the line against the Brazilian, whose WBO belt will be up for grabs.
The Friday March 15th bout is part of a big Matchroom USA card and will be broadcast live on DAZN and Sky Sports.
Victory for the Brian Peters managed lightweight should set up a clash for all the belts on the undercard of Joshua v Miller at Madison Square Garden on Saturday June 1.
Taylor will most likely fight Delfine Persoon – should the Belgian WBC champ come through her mandatory versus Melisa St Vil this Saturday – on what promises to be a massive card to make if six world title fights for Irish fighters in six months.
On the same night and at the same venue Jono Carroll [16(3)-0-1] will hope to add his name to the list of Irish world champions.
On the top of the March 15th Philly bill, ‘King Kong’ challenges Tevin Farmer [28(6)-4(2)-1] for the home favourite’s IBF super featherweight world title.
The tone had been set on Twitter and was cranked up when the pair came face to face at the official fight press conference and, at the very least, the Spain-based Irishman looks set to raise his profile in an entertaining fight.
However, increasing his standing won’t be enough for the 26 year old southpaw, he is adamant he will make Philly a historic city for his family by beating the slick hometown favourite in his back yard.
Both Carroll and his team believe styles make fights and that Farmer is walking straight into a trap – with the long odds set to be made a mockery of.
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Busy world champ Farmer, who competes in his fourth world title fight since last August, has Irish previous having stopped James Tennyson in October and has predicted a repeat performance.
Another Irish fighter that will have to not just brave but excel in the lions den and upset overwhelming odds if he is to become world champion is Dennis Hogan [28(7)-1(0)-1].
The Kildare fighter travels to Monterrey, Mexico on April 13 hoping to dethrone local favourite and WBO light middleweight champ Jaime Munguia [32(26)-0].
It’s not ideal in terms of venue, but Hogan has been waiting patiently for his shot for over a year now and the mandatory challenger seems unperturbed by having to travel to the home of some of the world’s greatest fighters.
Indeed, it gives him the chance to register one of the most historic world title wins in Irish boxing history.
Not only will victory in Mexico put him on a par with Wayne McCullough and TJ Doheny, who both claimed world titles in Japan, it will see him dethrone a fighter Golden Boy and Zanfer have earmarked for real stardom.
Since stopping Sadam Ali – who defeated fight legend Miguel Cotto to become world champion – on short notice to claim the brown crown and the giant Mexican has become increasingly known and his stock has risen to such a degree that he is now being talked about as a future opponent for pound-for-pound superstar Canelo Alvarez.
If Hogan does manage to take the strap it will no doubt increase the number of world title fights involving Irish fighters this year, but may also lead to a historic occasion.
The visualisation-keen Hogan wants his first defense to play out in Ireland and is willing to defend against Spike O’Sullivan meaning we could have the first ever all Irish world title fight – indeed, the Golden Boy promoted Cork man will be hoping for a shot at whoever emerges victorious on April 13th
A potentially massive March could be turned into a sensational Spring for Irish boxing by TJ Doheny [21(15)-0] in April.
The IBF super bantamweight world champion and Ireland only reigning male world champ at present can become a unified world champion with victory in Inglewood on Friday April 26th.
The Portlaoise southpaw, who lives in Australia but trains out of Boston, challenges Danny Roman [26(10)-2(0)-1] for the WBA title while putting his IBF strap on the line on another Matchroom USA DAZN and Sky Sports-broadcast show.
The fight provides chief support to a rematch of 2018 Fight of the Year contender Srisaket Sor Rungvisai versus Juan Francisco Estrada for the Thai’s WBC super flyweight titles, but both champions are predicting their clash could steal the show.
If Doheny does manage to defeat the well know Roman in an enthralling clash he could go from being a relatively unknown prospect to a massive name in the sport in less that 12 months.