Don’t worry, we have big plans, and Irish fighters will soon be recognised for what was a sensational year – indeed, one of our best ever.
However, while we wait for this, we do have some award winners to recognise.
The big ones will have to wait, but there are some light-hearted moments and different categories we would like to recognise here in the first ever ‘Irish-Boxing.com Alternative Awards’.
And the winners are:
Worst Ringwalk – Tom Tran
This writer may have personally loved it, but ‘Psychosocial’ by trash metal rockers Slipknot doesn’t particularly “fit” boxing. When German super bantamweight Tom Tran used the song for his entrance ahead of his headline fight on ‘Danger at The Devenish 2’ versus Tyrone McCullagh he was greeted by a stunned silence from a flabbergasted Belfast crowd.
Best Ringwalk – Tyrone McCullagh
Seconds after the Tran trainwreck came McCullagh. His fourth fight of the year and the fourth time Feargal Sharkey’s dulcet tones provided an increasingly iconic ringwalk for the Derry favourite. Backed by his largest ever travelling support as ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones once again played over the tannoy, McCullagh went on to bag a career-best stoppage win and set up a big 2018.
Best Reaction – Mick Conlan
The Top Rank prospect’s second fight saw him face the painfully negative and overmatched Alfredo Chanez, and the Mexican just looked to spoil throughout in Chicago. Not only this, Chanez’s sole tactic for victory involved trying to get Conlan disqualified. After the journeyman went down feigning another low blow, an exasperated Conlan looked at the camera and shrugged his shoulders – accurately summarising how we all felt.
Exactly what I thought @mickconlan11
Speed this lad along, he’s too good for these chumps 👊🏻💥
— Fight Disciples (@FightDisciples) May 27, 2017
Best Analysis – Stephen McAfee
The Dublin super feather has quickly established a reputation as a KO artist, scoring two stoppages in his opening two fights. The second of these saw him cave in Attila Horvath’s ribs inside a round. Afterwards McAfee gave his thoughts on the finish –
what was the artistry behind the KO? Did he notice an opening? Was it all planned out in his head?
Best Quote – Graham McCormack O’Shea
The Limerick light middleweight debuted last month, and just seems to love boxing. Never mind titles or even winning, stepping into a pro ring is a dream fulfilled in itself. His debut fight would actually turn out to be a war, with McCormack O’Shea being hurt in the opening round by Richard Baba – however he weathered the storm to take a win on the cards.
His post-fight interview was something special, and McCormack O’Shea described how “your man was trying to take my head off! It was like being outside Supermac’s at 3 o’clock in the morning, fellas coming up to you, looking for your garlic chip and you’re standing there going ‘you ain’t getting my garlic chip off me!’”
— William McNamara (@Super_mc11) December 4, 2017
Best Showboat – Niall O’Connor
The flashy Ballybrack lightweight is always great entertainment – although his old-school coach Tony Davitt may disagree. Granted, a lot of his ‘showboating’ is a means to make opponents open up – however, his second fight in December had one moment we particularly enjoyed. After knocking down Manuel Prieto in the third round in Dublin, O’Connor stalked, ready to move in for the kill as his Spanish opponent backpedaled furiously. The finishing blows didn’t come immediately though, and O’Connor terrified Prieto with a feigned attack that left the visitor cowering awaiting a shot that was never thrown.
Best Fans – Sean McGlinchey
The Derry middleweight brings a big crowd, and they certainly put the effort in. His debut in Belfast in April saw hundreds travel across Ulster to support ‘Mummy’s Bhoy’ at The Devenish. They weren’t just loud either and, in a nod to his nickname, many wore nappies and sucked on novelty soothers.
Fan of the Year – Anonymous
The Red Corner show in Dublin in October featured redheads Chris Blaney and Noely Murphy – and this was too much for one slightly inebriated fan. Chris Blaney was up first, defeating Matiouze Royer for the BUI Celtic super middleweight title, but for the duration of the fight one could hear constant screams of “GO ON NOELY!” People tried to correct the fan in question, but she could not be convinced, and the cheers continued – and subsequently restarted when Noely Murphy eventually made his way to the ring for his headline fight against Gyorgy Mizsei Jr.
Worst Trashtalk – Floyd Mayweather Jr
The five-weight world champion and his team had obviously done some research on Ireland ahead of the media tour for the mega-money fight with Conor McGregor during the Summer. However, they may have either misinterpreted something or else been on the end of a brilliant leg-pull, because the usually-foul-mouthed Mayweather elected to start calling McGregor an ‘eejit’ during the multi-city tour – obviously assuming the relatively harmless, almost endearing, word to instead be a major slur in Ireland.
Best Prediction – Martin Quinn and Mick Conlan
Crumlin’s Martin Quinn promised that he would stop debut opponent Marcin Ficner in the second round of their fight in September. The lightweight duly delivered, and vocally reminded the ringside Irish-Boxing.com as he exited.
Belfast’s Mick Conlan also made a few people a handy sum with his debut prediction. The Top Rank featherweight felt he would take three rounds to dismantle Tim Ibarra in New York, and this is exactly what happened – which certainly helped the post-fight celebrations!
Best Opponent – Iago Barros
The squat Spaniard won the hearts of Irish fight fans in December. Barros did not come to lie down when he took on Martin Quinn and the heavily tattooed away fighter pushed forward throughout, goaded the Dubliner, and drew big applause from the crowd at the conclusion of a close bout in which he was defeated 39-37. Someone we definitely want to see back in 2018.
Most Overmatched – Victor Biscak
Considering that boxing is all about levels, it would be unfair to pick the ‘worst’ opponent of the year. However there is no doubt who was the most out of their depth. Poor Victor Biscak was 10-0 and the Slovakian cruiserweight champion but never stood a chance in his short-notice bout in June with the returning Mike Perez, and was put down and out inside 30 seconds – the quickest Irish KO of the Year.
Weirdest Weigh-In – Renald Garrido v Tyrone McKenna
The eccentric French gatekeeper went all out ahead of his short notice bout with McKenna in Belfast in October. Sporting a Hallowe’en costume for the upcoming celebrations, Garrido got the crowd laughing as he jokingly squared up to ‘The Mighty Celt’ – before returning to the stage to throw sweets into the crowd.
Biggest WTF Moment – Sara Regina Coca kicks Lynn Harvey
One of the most bizarre moments ever seen in an Irish ring, the Romanian visitor was disqualified from her bout with Kilbarrack light flyweight Lynn Harvey after KICKING the Dubliner in the third round. Obviously of a Muay Thai background, Coca had raised her knee momentarily in the opening round but made no contact and then, after being buzzed in the third, landed a teep kick on Harvey that saw her immediately disqualified – and go viral.
Craziest Character – Colin O’Donovan
The Cork fighter is just off the wall. From singing along to his own ringwalk music to dancing in the corner between rounds, the bubbly Leesider is a pleasure to watch. Someone who just loves to fight, ‘The Rebel Rouser’ this year took a fight with top English prospect Reece Mould, as well as accepting a short notice super featherweight scrap with Stephen McAfee which ended up being one of the most exciting of 2017. A welcome addition to the scene.
Best Build-Up – Regan Buckley v Carl McDonald
There have been grudge matches, Irish titles, and big names going head-to-head this year, however the fight which captured the attention the most was a clash between two novice pros. Although they only had three fights between them, the September super bantamweight showdown between Regan Buckley and Carl McDonald snowballed into a massive fight following a build-up which included threats of pain, punishment and – bizarrely – a lot of talk about pizza.
Best Beef – Jono Carroll and Declan Geraghty
As Oscar De La Hoya famously said, big fights need to marinate – and that is exactly what is happening with this super featherweight rematch. Initially set to take place in Belfast in November, Geraghty would withdraw with a hand injury and while the build-up to that point had been muted, what followed has served to make the fight bigger than ever. Offers of bets, accusations of cowardice, media manipulation, and fake injuries, along with some venomous videos have all combined to make Carroll v Geraghty 2 the top fight on every Irish boxing fan’s wishlist.
Dodgiest Shorts – Mick Conlan and Craig O’Brien
He’s one of our greatest ever amateurs and currently Ireland’s premier pro prospect, but that doesn’t mean Mick Conlan is immune to some slagging – and his shorts for his third pro fight certainly raised eyebrows. For the clash with Jarrett Owen in Brisbane, Conlan sported a fuzzy number that reminded us of Dr Teeth from the Muppets Band.
Photo Credits: Ricardo Guglielminotti, Laszlo Geczo, and Karen Priestley