By Joe O’Neill- follow Joe on Twitter @joe_90
This Friday sees Dublin’s first professional boxing card of 2015. The Red Cow Moran Hotel will play host to seven up and coming Irish prospects who hope to kick the new year off with a bang. The magnificent seven in action are: Gerard Whitehouse, Stephen Carroll, Craig O’Brien, Steve Collins Jnr, Sean Turner, Tommy McCarthy, and Phil Sutcliffe Jnr. The card promises to be an exciting one full of knock-outs and irish-boxing.com will be the #1 stop for every detail pre- and post-fight night.
As Irish boxing fans will know, last Friday saw Dubliner Luke Keeler have an injury-affected, unsuccessful tilt at the Prizefighter middleweights tournament. ‘Cool Hand Luke’ unfortunately injured his hand in the first minute of the first round of his first fight and was unable to win the tournament like so many had predicted he would. Nevertheless, the Ballyfermot puncher will certainly bounce back from this setback without too many problems.
While Keeler was unfortunate, Prizefighter does offer a brilliant opportunity to ignite a young prospects career – just ask new Matchroom signing Jono Carroll. For anyone who is a fan of the Prizefighter format, you need look no further than the small-hall show in West Dublin this Friday to see some Irish lads who would be perfect for the tournament.
Tommy McCarthy – Cruiserweight
In his debut year, ‘Big Tommy’ won all four of his fights by stoppage. On Friday, McCarthy faces the durable Pole, Jakub Wojcik [3(1)-7(1)-2], over six rounds. A stoppage win, as he has predicted, would further enhance the cruiserweight’s burgeoning reputation as one of the hottest prospects in Irish boxing.
McCarthy aims to move fast and has stated his intention of fighting just the one six rounder before moving on to eight round fights. However, a shot at a cruiserweight Prizefighter tournament would offer a massive opportunity for the Belfast man to get his name out to the British audience.
Such a shot would be a calculated risk for the former elite amateur. Nevertheless it would be a risk worth taking. McCarthy honed his craft as a youngster in the higher weights against fully grown men many years his senior. Now 24, he has all the tools to make an impact on the professional scene. Fast, strong, and smooth-talking, McCarthy is perfect for Prizefighter and – with his extensive recent amateur background – he would have no problems with the demanding format.
The 2010 Commonwealth silver medalist is in safe hands with manager Pat Magee and will inevitably win titles in years to come. However, a crack at Prizefighter would allow him the opportunity to skip the queue to stardom.
Sean Turner – Heavyweight
The Dublin slugger is one of the most exciting characters in Irish boxing. ‘Big Sexy’ announced his arrival on the professional scene last June by knocking out his debut opponent with his first paid punch. This was one of the fastest knockouts in boxing history and became an internet sensation. Turner would then win his second fight with another spectacular KO before getting the rounds in with Moses Matovu in his third fight. At the Red Cow he will face the toughest test of his short professional career against Peter Erdos [9(3)-5(1)-3] of Hungary. The 23 year old power puncher has been getting some valuable experience sparring with future world champion Tyson Fury and will be hoping to put this to good use on Friday.
Ireland has pedigree in the heavyweight editions of Prizefighter with Belfast’s Martin Rogan winning the inagural tournament and Cork-based Cuban blasting his way to victory in 2011. Turner, with his frightening power, would certainly fancy his chances of becoming Ireland’s third heavyweight Prizefighter champ if he were to take part.
From his one-punch knock-out power to his nickname, everything about Sean Turner screams Prizefighter. There has not been a heavyweight Prizefighter tournament since 2013 so it likely that one will occur this year. Turner’s chances of appearing seem good with Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn promising that the Dublin puncher will feature if he so wishes.
Phil Sutcliffe Jnr. – Light Welterweight
The Crumlin man has been known as a ferocious power puncher since way back in 2009 when he knocked Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce out in the first round of their light welterweight final at the Elite National Championships. Now 25, the 2009 EU bronze medalist is looking to make an impact on the professional scene.
Sutcliffe Jnr. won his first five fights by knock-out before being brought the distance in his sixth – although he did have his man down three times en-route. On Friday, in Liverpudlian southpaw Terry Needham [7(3)-1(1)], he faces the most difficult opponent of his professional career so far. An impressive victory in this six round contest would underline his undoubted potential even further.
Another under the watchful eye of Pat Magee, Sutcliffe Jnr. has stated his intention of fighting four times between now and June and hopefully getting a big fight by the end of the year. While this seems a solid plan, he would surely jump at the chance of participating in a Prizefighter tournament around his weight class if one were to occur. With his extensive elite amateur background and skills – alongside power in both hands – the format would suit the Dubliner down to the ground.