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Still Standing – What now for the Last Man 8?

Eight fighters went to war for a big-money prize and a career jump on Saturday night

Live on TG4, the inaugural Ireland’s Last Man Standing competition provided thrills and it was Roy Sheahan who emerged victorious, perhaps marking the start of something special.

The joy of such a format, the short nature of the fights ensure that a loss is not all that detrimental to a boxer’s career, and big things can still happen for many of the seven defeated on Saturday.

Below Irish-Boxing.com takes a look at what could be ahead for Sheahan and the rest of the Last Man Standing entrants.

Ger Healy
Healy’s tournament was over before it started really. Dropped early to the body by JJ McDonagh – although it wasn’t ruled a knockdown – Boom Boom shipped a huge southpaw left soon afterward and his quarter-final was waved off. The Lenadoon fighter seems to just hugely enjoy boxing and is a popular figure in the sport. If Healy is to continue, there is definitely a place for the 34-year-old on the Belfast small hall scene.

Owen Jobburn
Stoke (Athlone)
Jobburn went all in and seemed to love the whole experience. The Potter went to war with Chris Blaney but was outpointed in the quarter-final, finishing strong and endearing himself to Irish fans with his exciting style and warm persona. A natural light middleweight, Jobburn was the smallest of the eight and will be back down to 154lbs for his next fight on March 17th. A return to Ireland down the line would be great and, if he takes out a license and becomes eligible, ‘The Athlone Apollo’ Jobburn could provide a perfect Irish title opponent for Craig O’Brien

Vladimir Belujsky
Young and powerful, ‘The Slovak Rebel’ actually landed the most shots on eventual winner Roy Sheahan. Still at the four-round stage of his career, Belujsky’s quarter-final loss will matter little in the grand scheme of things and the Mitchelstown man will be able to pick up right where he left off and continue moving towards the Slovakian title. An exciting fighter, Belujsky will be in plenty of domestic wars down the line.

Nick Quigley
Liverpool (Wexford)
The Scouser’s sole aim when he steps in the ring is to rush forward and throw as much as he can. A supremely entertaining fighter, Quigley was just too small and didn’t have enough time to wear down the rangey Jack Cullen in their quarter-final. A guaranteed tough night for any middleweight in Britain or Ireland, expect to see Quigley on TV in the near future as a game away fighter with the sort of style that could upset an untested prospect.

JJ McDonagh
A big knockout, a loss to the eventual winner, and €8,000 in the bank – not bad for the late entrant, although the first seed will be no doubt disappointed. Another not majorly hurt by an L on the record, it would not be surprising to see McDonagh fight Sheahan again for the Irish title – assuming it will be soon vacated by Luke Keeler. Over ten rounds, with McDonagh being massive at the weight, it certainly would be an interesting proposition and a different fight to the tactical three-round affair on Saturday. Indeed, considering the Brosna boxer is managed by Last Man Standing co-promoter Assassin Boxing, this fight looks dare-we-say-it quite likely.

Chris Blaney
‘The Ginja Ninja’ seemed to dramatically change his style for the competition, looking to go to war over the shorter format and was undone in the semis when he tired and was knocked down heavily by Cullen. A return to longer fights will suit a boxer normally more controlled and methodical. Expect a few fights rebuilding in England on Hatton and BCB shows before a comeback appearance – maybe defending his BUI Celtic super middleweight belt – in Dublin. His Irish title dream will be delayed no doubt, but Blaney to his credit remained positive following the loss.

Jack Cullen
Bolton (Dublin)
Unfortunate with the broadcaster-determined timings that provided him negligible time to recover from his semi-final win over Blaney, ‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ was stopped early by Sheahan in the final. The rangey English fighter though impressed in earlier rounds with his awkward style with quick hands, putting in perfomances which suggested he will be a force at British title level in the coming years. Indeed, now known by Irish boxing fans, we may see him in the ring with another fighter from these shores down the line.

Roy Sheahan
A dream night for the 33-year-old, an Irish boxing star was born on Saturday. A great character with a gorgeous fighting style, it’s easy to like Roy Sheahan’s style as well as his attitude – ‘The Joker’ doesn’t want to wait around. Expect an eight-rounder to take place soon overseas and then we could see the lilywhite back on the next, should it occur, Last Man Standing card. An Irish middleweight title rematch with JJ McDonagh would be where our money is and, should he win, from there, who knows? A base has been built and a platform will hopefully be provided, the story starts here.

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)


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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