28 January 2011 – Jonny Stapleton
Willie Casey will do battle with fellow world title challenger Brain Magee in Crumlin Boxing Gym next Wednesday, for the Irish Boxer of the Year crown.
The third National Boxing Awards will take place in the Dublin Gym on February 2 with Casey, who won Prizefighter, the super-bantemweight European title and earned himself a World title tilt in 2010, favoured to take the top prize.
Also up for grabs at the award presentation, which is supported by the Boxing Union of Ireland, are Irish Prospect of the Year, Irish Champion of the Year and Irish Coach of the Year.
The likes of Stephen Ormond, Jamie Kavanagh and Jamie Conlan have been tipped for bigger things in 2011 and are all in the running to follow Carl Frampton and Martin Lindsay as Irish Prospect of the Year winners.
Last years Trainer of the Year John Breens success with Paul McCloskey, Andrew Murray and Conlan mean he is contention to retain the award. However he will come under pressure from Crumlin and Dolphil coach Phil Sutcliffe, who has guided Willie Casey from boxing rags to riches in 12 months.
Super-middleweight Irish champion Anthony Fitzgerald is the hot favourite to claim the Irish Champion of the Year. Fitzgerald, who defends the title this coming Sunday in City West, has been by far the most active champion and is always willing to put the domestic strap on the line.
According to Awards coordinator Cormac Campbell, the voting process for the 2010 awards has been widened considerably and includes opinions from North and South of the Border.
This years awards have been voted for by a wide range of boxing writers and broadcasters, something that reflects the growth of the sport in recent times, he said.
It has been another great year for the sport here with European title successes for Willie Casey, Matthew Macklin, Paul McCloskey and Brian Magee. In 2011 we are hopeful that a number of these boxers can press on and win world titles. Behind them are a dozen or so other contenders and prospects who will ensure that boxings resurgence in Ireland into a major mainstream sport will continue in the coming years.