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March Madness – a look ahead at a manic month for Irish boxing

Fabulous February didn’t quite materialize thanks in particular to two big fight cancelations last weekend.

Carl Frampton’s attempt to make history by becoming Ireland’s first three- weight world champ was meant to play out on Saturday but was pushed back to April.

Anthony Cacace initially looked to benefit only for his opponent to catch Covid and force another cancelation.

Paul Hyland’s British title fight was another to find a home in a new month, while Jason Quigley’s comeback was one of a few others to be canceled, meaning a mouth-watering February didn’t quite live up to it’s billing in terms of Irish boxing.

However, a bit of March Madness may make up for the disappointment. We move into a month that is always good for Irish boxing and it promises to deliver once again.

Some may argue it does so in terms of quantity rather that quality but there is action to look forward to nonetheless.

Former Ulster Heavyweight champion Karol Dlugosz gets the ball rolling this month as he returns to the ring on Saturday March 6.

Dlugosz takes on Krzysztop Stawiarski in Poland on a Queensbury Poland card as he bids to go 2-0.

Seven days later and Lewis Crocker and Gary Cully compete in exciting and progressive fights.

In Bolton on Friday March 12 ‘The Croc’ takes on German Deniz Ilbay for the WBO European welterweight ranking title, while ‘The Diva’ fights Kazch Viktor Kotochigov for the lightweight version of the same title.

One of Ireland’s greatest ever amateurs has a revenge mission less than a week later. On Thursday March 18th, Joe Ward rematches with Marco Delgado, a fighter who holds a win over the Moate man after a knee injury cost him victory on his debut.

Less than 24 hours later on Friday March 19 and Paul Hyland Jr will attempt to become British champion as he fights Maxi Hughes for the strap recently vacated by his managerial stablemate and friend James Tennyson.

Padraig McCrory is also in action on that MTK Fight Night as he faces an interesting clash with undefeated English fighter Germaine Brown.

Dubliner Paul Ryan, a former underage standout, also appears, debuting against Kyle Hughes.

An action-packed weekend kicks into overdrive a day later, as no fewer than 14 Irish boxers take to the ring on March 20th.

The Celtic Warriors invade Belgium as the Pascal Collins trained fighters some early 2021 action.

Ray Moylette fights for the first time since 2018, as does Niall O’Connor, Craig O’Brien returns after a baron 2019, a situation Rhys Moran also finds himself in.

Eric Donovan warms up for his EU super featherweight title fight on the Brussells card, while Niall Kennedy fights for the first time since his Sky Sports broadcast Allan Babic defeat.

The Boxing Ireland Promotion’s stable also make an appearance in a Benelux country on the same night as they start what looks to be a busy, even breakthrough year, in Luxembourg.

WBC World Youth champion Katelynn Phelan fights for the first time since her career-changing win, Kerry light-heavy Kevin Cronin, BUI Celtic mandatory Dominic Donegan, Belfast’s Owen O’Neill, Sligo stylist Aaron Gethins, former BUI lightweight champ Joe Fitzpatrick and Martin Quinn all also appear.

Jono Carroll has also suggested he will be out over this weekend but nothing has been officially confirmed as of yet.

But wait there’s more… On the final weekend of the month brothers inlaw, Jason Harty and Edward Donovan will make their middleweight debuts fighting on a March 26 BT broadcast London show.

Declan Geraghty, Graham McCormack, and Robert Burke all fighting Stateside on the same night, while Vladimir Belujsky returns to a Poland to fight on March 27.

The month ends with a bang as Dennis Hogan and Tim Tszyu go at it in Australia on March 31.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com