The Fantasy Irish Boxing Super Series began today and provided us with a lot of fun to help fill the boxing-shaped void in our lives.
In the first of hopefully many – although not too many, please can boxing come back soon – we set out to find the top Irish fighter from our golden generation of amateur middleweights.
Borrowing from the game-changing World Boxing Super Series format, eight fighters were virtually pitted against each other in a single-elimination knockout tournament.
After a day of polls, it was the original main man at middleweight, Limerick’s Andy Lee, who was crowned champion.
The St Francis southpaw defeated dearly departed Dubliner Darren Sutherland in the final after the pair came through a field that also included Jason Quigley, Eamonn O’Kane, Darren O’Neill, Michael Nevin, Michael O’Reilly, and Steven Donnelly.
There was drama right from the off, with the random draw popping up a sensational quarter-final between Lee and Quigley.
However, while some may have predicted it would be close, Lee was the winner with a landslide knockout. Sutherland had a similarly wide stoppage win over O’Neill while things were slightly more competitive between O’Kane and O’Reilly, with the latter getting the nod on a unanimous decision.
The tightest of the quarters came between Nevin and Donnelly – with Donno coming from behind to grit out a points win.
Going into the semis, Lee and Sutherland blasted their way through, stopping O’Reilly and Donnelly respectively.
That all led us to the mouthwatering grand final, Lee versus Sutherland, 2004 Olympian v 2008 Olympic bronze medallist.
The pair had actually met in real life, too, with Lee defeating Sutherland 24-12 in the 2003 Seniors and it would be another ‘win’ for the Limerick man tonight virtually, this time by stoppage after a 74% to 26% scoreline in the public vote.
We will continue this series with a different weight class every weekend. Please get in touch with your suggestions.