REVISITED: 5 Big Irish Boxing Predictions for 2018


This time last year Irish-Boxing.com outlined five ‘big’ predictions for 2018.

The picks weren’t run-of-the-mill certainties or things which were widely predicted. Indeed, none of the ideas were outlined with cast-iron certainty.

READ: 5 BIG IRISH BOXING PREDICTIONS FOR 2018

Before we continue with our 2019 ‘big’ predictions, we take the time to revisit our five from 2018, some which came true and others which, well, didn’t.

Prediction #1: Brian Peters Promotions returns
Outcome: No – at least not yet
At the turn of 2018 Katie Taylor looked certain to be making an Irish homecoming. Promoter Eddie Hearn was speaking openly about an April date in Dublin. Manager Peters was going even further, discussing undercard fights and even potential separate cards. The man behind the ‘Bernard Dunne Days’ seemed to have a glint in his eye but this all went cold when the Taylor homecoming was shelved indefinitely. However, Peters and Tomás Rohan continue to keep tabs on the Irish scene – and tabs which go beyond those of mere avid followers. Certain fighters are believed to be tickling the Meath manager’s fancy and, while shows in Ireland perhaps may not take place, expect the BPP stable to expand.

Prediction #2: MTK-managed boxers fight in Dublin
Outcome: No with a capital N
A prediction which looked set to come true after just a few weeks of the year. Five boxers from the outfit were due to box on the SK Promotions ‘Collision Course’ event at the Citywest Hotel in February while Alfredo Meli was set to enter Ireland’s Last Man Standing. However, the show was cancelled less than 48 hours beforehand – with contrasting reports as to why, with thejournal.ie reporting that the cancellation was due to the event not having the proper insurance while SK Promotions claimed it was an unjustified breach of contract from the venue for a show which had all the necessary clearance. One week after the cancellation, alongside announcing their boycott of Irish media, MTK Global confirmed they will no longer look to have their boxers fight on shows in the Republic of Ireland – a stance they reaffirmed during the summer

Prediction #3: Early All-Irish fights trend continues
Outcome: Yes
The Celtic Clash series has transformed small hall boxing down South an early all-Irish fights are a staple of this. On Celtic Clash 5 Stephen McAfee and Colin O’Donovan [combined 6 fights] fought for a BUI Celtic title, Victor Rabei and Karl Kelly [combined 7 fights] and Carl McDonald and O’Donovan [combined 9 fights] boxed for BUI Celtic belts on Celtic Clash 6, while Celtic Clash 7 featured an Irish title fight between McDonald and Dylan McDonagh [combined 10 fights] and a brawl between Kelly and Martin Quinn [combined 6 fights]. Away from Celtic Clash, Rabei and Mark Morris [combined 7 fights] boxed on Ireland’s Last Man Standing – which was won by one-fight pro novice Roy Sheahan and also featured Vladimir Belujsky – while Padraig McCrory and Sean McGlinchey [6 fights combined] took each other on at 24 hours notice on the ‘Danger at the Docks’ show.

Prediction #4: A New Star is born
Outcome: Yes
Alongside 8 medals at the Commonwealth Games, Irish amateur boxers claimed 5 pieces of major international silverware and there was a first-time winner in Kieran Molloy. The Galway welter stormed to the Elite title at the first time of asking, live on RTÉ, before claiming bronze at his first major – the EU Championships. In addition to Molloy, Dundalk’s Amy Broadhurst has become one of Ireland’s most prominent amateur fighters over the past year. A valiant effort versus Kelly Harrington in the Elite Seniors was followed by European U22 gold before the Dealgan puncher was controversially denied a medal at the World Championships following a contentious loss to the Indian home favourite.

Prediction #5: Increasing U.S. East Coast presence
Outcome: Yes
Irish boxers were everywhere on the U.S. East Coast in 2018. Noely Murphy topped a DiBella bill in New York in February while Mick Conlan had his annual Madison Square Garden St Patrick’s Weekend fight before Jason Quigley made his comeback and marked a promotional change of approach by headlining a bill in Boston which also featured Ray Moylette. Katie Taylor had three major East Coast fights in 2018 and her Boston-hosted clash with Cindy Serrano also featured a world title tilt for James Tennyson and appearances for Sean McComb and Niall Kennedy while David Oliver Joyce and Steven Donnelly also got to box at The Garden. The takeover continues in 2019 too, with Jono Carroll heading to Philly and plenty of Boston and New York nights in the pipeline.

What are your big predictions for 2019? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie