2016 is here and Irish boxing is looking good.
With fighters excelling at all levels, there will hopefully be many many titles won. and plenty of progress made, over the coming 12 months.
In the first of 5 parts, we have decided to look into our very optimistic crystal ball and predict what might be around the corner for Irish boxers this year.
Paddy Barnes – Light Flyweight
Olympic gold is the only thing that will do for Barnes. That and perhaps a juicy professional contract afterwards.
Ciaran Bates – Lightweight
A return to the ring after missing his headline slot on the Red Cow show in November. Move up through the rounds and gain title eligibility. Perhaps an Irish title shot towards the end of the year.
Alec Bazza – Light Welterweight
Hopefully the Belfast Spartan can grab a maiden victory this year. Nothing would please us more.
Manny Bique – Super Middleweight
A debut for the Dominican Republic destroyer who was forced out of his original debut date through injury
Dean Byrne – Welterweight
Never one to say no to a fight, Irish Lightning is seemingly moving into ‘recognisable opponent’ territory. Expect the Dubliner to upset a few prospects.
Ryan Burnett – Bantamweight
Add the Commonwealth belt to his collection and improve his ranking with the WBO as he targets a 2017 World title shot.
Anto Cacace – Super Featherweight
Following the Carl Frampton path – a fight for the soon-to-be vacant Commonwealth belt. A spot on the Frampton-Quigg undercard.
Jono Carroll – Super Featherweight
A big fight. A clash for an Inter-Continental or some such title would grant the Celtic Warriors fighter a World ranking.
Stephen Carroll – Light Welterweight
A move up to eight rounders and move himself into the frame for an Irish title.
Gearoid Clancy – Lightweight
A rematch with Brendan Saunders in March (already confirmed) and the eventual takeover from Darragh Foley as Australian champion (should Foley vacate in search of continental honours).
Steve Collins Jr – Light Heavyweight
A successful return from injury followed by a continued pro apprenticeship for the Wolfhound.
Jamie Conlan – Super Flyweight
A World title fight, or World title eliminator, with Paul Butler.
Mick Conlan – Bantamweight
Olympic gold. Professional contract. Worldwide super-stardom.
Gary Corcoran – Light Middleweight
A win over Joe Selkirk on the February 6th MGM show. A shot at Liam Smith’s WBO World title.
Sean Creagh – Welterweight
Make the move up to 6 round fights and gain more experience.
Darren Cruise – Super Middleweight
A dream-fulfilling fight for the Irish title. Current champion is JJ McDonagh (who previously defeated Cruise in Prizefighter).
Conrad Cummings – Middleweight
A spot on the Frampton-Quigg undercard. A rematch with Alfredo Meli, or another fighter, for the BBBoC Celtic Title.
Michael Devine – Lightweight
A win in his SOuthern Area title fight on March 5th against Floyd Moore. Another big fight with a Matchroom prospect.
TJ Doheny – Super Bantamweight
A WBA interim title shot against Moises Flores. Position himself to take over the super bantamweight division when Carl Frampton inevitably moves up in weight.
Alan Donnellan – Super Middleweight
Perhaps promoter Mark Dunlop might fancy putting on an in-house Irish title clash with Darren Cruise.
Stephen Donnelly – Welterweight
To grab his unexpected Olympic chance with both gloves. A dark horse if he is on form.
Anto Fitzgerald – Light Middleweight
A return to the ring and maybe one more fight with a fellow Irishman. Plenty around his weight for a trademark call-out.
Joe Fitzpatrick – Lightweight
A television debut for the Dunlop/Warren fighter as well as a move up to six round fights.
Darragh Foley – Lightweight
Claim the WBA Oceania title from Brandon Ogilvie in March and begin to make a dent in the World rankings.