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The Sean Mannion Gallant Defeat of the Year – The Smackwear Awards 2018

Often the underdog, it doesn’t always work out for Irish boxers.

Many times this year fighters from these shores have gone up against the odds on away soil and come up short.

However, their efforts have not gone unnoticed and this year we have added the ‘Gallant Defeat’ category to the Smackwear awards, picking out FIVE of the gutsiest losing performances from Irish fighters.

We have also decided to name this award after Galway’s Sean Mannion, the man who was ‘Never Knocked Down’ in his unbelievably brave challenge of Mike McCallum for the WBA light middleweight title back in 1984.

Gallant Defeat of the Year

Paddy Gallagher (v Brad Solomon)
The Belfast welterweight forced his way into the WBC Jose Sulaiman Invitational but lost out in the quarters versus Brad Solomon in Kentucky. A massive underdog, Gallagher caused a massive scare when he dropped Solomon to the body in the opening round and the Lenadoon man would push and push his skilful opponent to the final bell only to be edged out on a split decision.

paddy gal

Tyrone McKenna (v Jack Catterall)
Written off by many beforehand, the Belfast light welter looked likely to be stoppped early by the world-rated Catterall when he was put down in the second and the fifth. ‘The Mighty Celt’, however, would keep coming, and got the better of the second half of the contest, bringing the fire to Catterall and bringing the Odyssey to its collective feet.

Dylan McDonagh (v Sean McGoldrick)
On just four days notice, the Jobstown fighter gave former amateur star Sean McGoldrick the fright of his life in Cardiff. An unplanned step up to eight rounds, McDonagh pushed the Welsh bantamweight hard live on Sky Sports and was eventually beaten on a 78-76 card which could have been very different under better circumstances for ‘The Firecracker’.

mcdonagh mcgoldrick

James Tennyson (v Tevin Farmer)
The Belfast super featherweight was stopped in the fifth round of his IBF title challenge in Boston in October but he can’t be accused of not giving his all. While Cindy Serrano would offer a meek challenge to Katie Taylor less than an hour later, Tennyson threw everything at the slick southpaw only to be put down by bodyshots – and would have kept getting up if referee Arthur Mercante Jr didn’t intervene.

tenny kd

Ray Moylette (v Christian Uruzqueita)
The Mayo lightweight had no right to even finish the fifth round of his fight with the Mexican hardman in Castlebar earlier this month. Not only did Moylette survive two knockdowns, he actually came back strong and enjoyed plenty of success down the stretch before being beaten on a split-decision in an electrifying fight that was shown live on TG4.


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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: