Many times this year fighters from these shores have gone up against the odds on away soil, walked through fire, and come up short.
However, their efforts have not gone unnoticed and below we have picked out SIX of the gutsiest losing performances from Irish fighters.
This award is named after Galway’s Sean Mannion in reference to his famously brave challenge of Mike McCallum for the WBA light middleweight title back in 1984.
Gallant Defeat of the Year
Paddy Barnes (v Jay Harris)
Following a defeat to Oscar Mojica (another bout which could have been included here), the Belfast flyweight was in do-or-die territory. While a longer rebuilding period had been planned, an opportunity to face European champ Jay Harris couldn’t be turned down and Barnes had his last stand in the Ulster Hall in October. Pushing the entire time, the Irish boxing legend was eventually stopped in the fourth of a bloody battle.
Jono Carroll (v Tevin Farmer)
The Finglas super feather was labelled an example to other world title challengers by Lou DiBella following his unsuccessful tilt at IBF champ Farmer. King Kong marched forward for all twelve rounds, constantly throwing punches and surviving a crisis period in the eleventh before dropping a unanimous decision.
TJ Doheny (v Danny Roman)
A fight which will feature frequently in these awards, the super bantamweight unification had everything. Doheny was cut and dropped twice but kept coming back for more, losing a tight decision and almost taking Roman out around the midway point.
Paul Hyland Jr (v Francisco Patera)
The European champion would have had to nail Hylo to the canvas to secure a knockout. Four times in six rounds the Belfast lightweight was sent down in Rome before the referee waved off proceedings. However, every time, Hyland would rise and return straight back into toe-to-toe action.
Craig O’Brien (v Kieron Conway)
The inner-city Dublin light middleweight took an away corner shot last night in London. Returning to a Matchroom card, O’Brien attempted to upset the impressive Conway at the York Hall. While he had to bite down on the gumshield at times, O’Brien was at home at the level, winning and drawing rounds en-route to a wholly competitive 97-94 loss.
Carl McDonald (v Iain Butcher)
Taking the fight with the two-time British title challenger on just a couple of days notice, McDonald perhaps should have gotten the win out in Scotland. Dropping Butcher in the opening exchanges before showing some nice boxing throughout the six rounds, the Tallaght super bantam lost an extremely harsh 58-56 decision on the cards.
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