The Irish boxing scene promises to be as exciting and action-packed as it was last year. One of the eventful moments was Josh Warrington monumental win over Carl Frampton in December. It was sad to see Andy Lee, former world champion, retired from the sport in 2019. The following are the Irish boxers to watch out for this year:
8. Michael Conlan (featherweight)
Many people believe that Michael Conlan, former Olympic bronze medalists, deserved a medal at the Rio Game. However, despite not getting a medal, he seemed to have recovered well and broke into the professional scene with a bang.
His maiden fight was held at the famous Madison Square Garden and managed to win the first four fights. His calm and stamina saw him go the full six rounds while delivering an impressive performance. Since then, he appears to have acclimatized and ready to take on the big boys.
7. James Tennyson (Super Featherweight)
Currently ranked seventh by the World Boxing Association (WBA), James Tennyson enjoyed good performance last year. The super featherweight fighter hails from Belfast and has shown good recovery after losing to Ryan Walsh back in April 2016. In the following fight, the big-hitting fighter outclassed Declan Gerraghty in the sixth round bout. He followed this impressive performance by winning against Ryan Doyle for the WBA International Super Featherweight title.
The entertaining boxer, however, needs to work on his defense if he is to offer any real threat. This shortcoming was seen in the bout against Darren Traynor.
6. Jason Quigley (middleweight)
It didn’t take long for the world to notice the prowess of the former World silver medalist. He did not waste time transitioning from the amateur rams to the professional class. In addition, to do this, he found refuge at Golden Boy Promotions under the guidance of Oscar De La Hoya, a former world champion.
The years were quite eventful for the budding boxer having won 13 bouts and losing none. Unfortunately, the reigning NABF champion hurt his hand that saw him sidelined for some time. Lateran, then he joined the famous Ingle Gym under Dominic Ingle watch. His aim is to fine-tune skills to put up with the challenge form upcoming fighters.
5. Jamie Conlan (super flyweight)
Many people consider Jamie Conan as among the most entertaining boxers in the Irish scene. He is ranked third by the International Boxing Organization (IBO) and is part of the ever-growing MTK Global outfit. His base is Marbella in Belfast where he enjoys a huge home following.
He is the elder brother of Michael Conlan, an Olympic bronze medalist, and has been gradually rising up the ranks. His record stood at 19-0 prior to facing Jerwin Ancajas for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Flyweight title. Sadly, he lost the bout to the better fight and this had him going back to the drawing board.
His recent appointment as the MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator has many people believing that he may be thinking of hanging up his gloves.
4. Andy Lee (middleweight)
Having taken a sabbatical leave for about 9 months, Andy Lee is expected to make a comeback and improve on where he left at. He had beaten KeAndrae Leatherwood in New York prior to the absence but has suffered a loss to Billy Joe Saunders in a world title fight. For over a year, he did not win any title and this had many people convinced that he may be thinking of hanging up his gloves.
The 33yeare old however says he is ready to face opponents in different levels and categories including world eliminator, world title shots or facing an upcoming fighter. We just have to wait and see if the elder statesman has the wits to keep up with the competition.
3. Katie Taylor (lightweight)
Katie Taylor has proven that her good run in the amateur class was not a fluke. It took her just seven bouts at the professional level to become a world champion. This was after defeating Argentina’s Anahi Sanchez in a unanimous decision in Cardiff in October. The fight was an undercard to the more publicized and anticipated Antonym Joshua’s Heavyweight title bout.
The Bray native is also an Olympic gold medalist and enjoys guidance from the well-acclaimed promoter Eddie Hearn. 2019 will is likely going to be an uphill task for her as she faces the likes of Chantelle Cameron (Barry McGuigan’s protégé), in the IBO world title and Belgium’s Delfine Persoon WBC champion.
2. Ryan Burnett (bantamweight)
At only 25 years, Ryan Burnett has had a good career. Having ventured in the world boxing landscape, it took him under one year to let the world know of his ambition and zeal.
The Belfast man went ahead to a score a convincing win against Lee Haskins to secure the IBF bantamweight title in June at the event held at Belfast. This further cemented Promoter Eddie Hearn’s assertion that he was the next big force from Belfast.
The next fight against WBA Champion, Zhanat Zhakiyanov in October, proved a tough one, as he had to go all out and put a defensive show against the more experienced fighter. However, the young blooded fighter did manage to handle the Ricky Hatton-trained boxer. If the recent performance is anything to go by then Burnett may just be flexing his muscles for an even better show this year.
1. Carl Frampton (Featherweight)
Popularly known as “The Jackal,” Carl Frampton continuous to show his dominance in the Featherweight class. For the last 5 years, he has maintained his good form that has seen his fan base expand rather fast. The Tiger Bay boxer first tested success after defeating Kilo Martinez in September 2014 during the Titanic Quarter Held at Belfast. He took the IBF Super Bantamweight title and convincingly defended it three consecutive times.
His zeal led him to fight in the featherweight class and it paid off after a win against Leo Santa Cruz in a bout held at New York. He held two world titles at the same time. Santa Cruz called for a rematch, which went against Frampton, and he lost to Cruz. This saw him rethink about his strategy and is expected to make 2019 a more successful year.
2019 has started on a high note and this trend is expected to continue. The amateurs will seek to break through the professional scene with Katie Taylor is expected to cement her command.
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