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WINNERS: The 2016 Awards

Thousands of votes have been cast, tallied, and now the results are in for the 2016 Awards.

So, without further ado, below are our 20 winners.

The Kevin McBride Shock of the Year – Mick Conlan Robbed in Rio
Evander Holyfield, Roy Jones Jr, Floyd Mayweather, and now maybe Mick Conlan. The Belfast fighter was stunningly adjudged to have lost his Olympic bantamweight quarter final in Rio to Russian Vladimir Nikitin. Despite seemingly winning the first round off the back foot, Conlan found himself down on all the cards. A change in tactics saw the 2015 World Champion thump his opponent for the duration of the second round to level the scores, before a closer third round gave Nikitin the bout and led to Conlan unleashing an impassioned outburst against the AIBA which garnered worldwide attention.


The Fighting Irish Photo of the Year – Carl Frampton v Scott Quigg Head-to-Head
For a second year in a row, an image of Frampton has been voted top snap. It was a testy final press conference in Manchester ahead of the Scott Quigg unification, and Ricardo Guglielminotti caught the following perfect picture with Frampton, Quigg, and Eddie Hearn all grabbing a handful of each other.


The Micky Ward Round of the Year – Carl Frampton v Leo Santa Cruz (Round 12)
A round chosen by ESPN as the third best stanza worldwide, the closing three minutes of the WBA featherweight title clash was a microcosm of the fight itself. A back-and-forth round which saw Frampton forced back early on before fighting back and exhibiting both his grit and skill to close out a sensational victory.

frampton santa cruz

The Muhammad Ali Wild Goose of the Year – Dillian Whyte
Jamaican-born Whyte is hugely proud of his Irish roots, which come from his Cork-born grandfather. 2016 has seen The Body Snatcher win four times, including a British heavyweight title triumph over Ian Lewison and a grudge match victory over Dereck Chisora in a WBC title eliminator. Coming in second place was ‘The Irish Bomber’ Joe Smith Jr who scored shock victories this year over Andrzej Fonfara and Bernard Hopkins.


Show of the Year – Homecoming
Unsurprisingly, top prize here went to the Queensberry Promotions ‘Homecoming’ show at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast in November. The only televised show in Ireland in 2016, it featured plenty of top talent and included the debut of Olympic hero Paddy Barnes, an all-Irish showdown between Tyrone McKenna and Sean Creagh, and a huge win for Phil Sutcliffe against Chris Jenkins.


The Alejandro González Jr Opponent of the Year – Leo Santa Cruz
The three-weight world champion brought the best out of Carl Frampton in their terrific WBA featherweight title fight in July. The gentlemanly Mexican-American granted Frampton a shot at the belt and definitely seemed to strike up a fighter’s bond with the Belfast man. The fight itself was a classic, with the high-octane Santa Cruz pushing Frampton all the way. We’re looking forward to seeing the two of them trading leather again on January 28th in Las Vegas.


The Freddie Gilroy Young Boxer of the Year – Gabriel Dossen
Following a sensational 2016 which saw him claim his first two Irish titles, Galway’s Gabriel Dossen would then go on to grab World Youth bronze in St Petersburg and has been voted your Young Boxer of the Year by a wide margin . Crumlin’s European Schoolboys gold medalist William Hayden took the runner-up spot.


The Steve Collins Warrior of the Year – Christina McMahon
It has not been a nice year for Monaghan super flyweight Christina McMahon. A dubious loss in a WBC title fight with Zulina Munoz in Mexico would lead into a lengthy battle with the governing body for a rematch. The WBA route would then open up, however the planned Dublin fight with Linda Laura Lecca fell through due to financial reasons. Thankfully McMahon now looks to be in line for another, much-deserved, shot at a WBA world title in the new year.


The @paddyb_ireland Social Media Star of the Year – Paddy Barnes
The self-described “Worldwide Superstar” has retained the prize which bears his name. Barnes has kept us all entertained throughout the year, raising daily smirks with his online antics. Can he complete the three-peat in 2017?

The Eamonn Magee Jr Prospect of the Year – Noely Murphy
A year in which the Cork welter took the step up to six rounds and scored a career-best win, Noely Murphy has been chosen by voters as the prospect of the year. The Macroom fighter came ahead of Dublin’s Jay Byrne who has enjoyed an impressive debut year.

noely murphy

Knockout of the Year – Frankie Cleary (v Rui Barros)
A ridiculously close category that saw just 7 votes separate the Top 3, Galway lightweight Frankie Cleary takes the prize for his stoppage of Portugal’s Rui Barros in the final of the Celtic Box Cup. Second and third place would go to Anto Upton (v Luke Paddock) and Jamie Conlan (v Anthony Nelson) respectively.

The Barney Eastwood Manager/Promoter of the Year – Frank Warren
The veteran promoter brought back big time boxing to Ireland with the huge ‘Homecoming’ show at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast, and now looks set to return in February. This return to the Irish scene sees Warren edge the vote ahead of Mark Dunlop, the only promoter to run two shows in Ireland this year.


Club of the Year – Monkstown BC, Dublin
A category with huge interest, Monkstown BC have been voted winners following an amazing year where they claimed 10 Irish titles. Coming in second place was the Holy Trinity club in Belfast, while St Brigid’s Edenderry would finish in third.


Breakthrough of the Year – Jason Quigley
The Donegal middleweight raced through his first ten opponents, but took a step up in class this year against gatekeepers James De La Rosa and Jorge Melendez. Quigley would rise to the challenge with a ten-round schooling and a first round blowout respectively and now looks posed to enter world title contention in the near future.


The John Duddy Fight of the Year – Eamer Coughlan v Terry McEntee
A epic, non-recorded, bout at the National Under-18 Championships in August. Relentless Cork fighter Coughlan, just 16 at the time, would grind down the big hitting Monaghan bantamweight over three breath-taking rounds. The win secured the Riverstown teen a spot on the Irish squad for the World Youth Championships in Russia.


Comeback of the Year – Katie Taylor
The Wicklow fighter lost a previously-unimaginable three fights in 2016. While Taylor did claim World Championships bronze, her quest for a second Olympic gold would end at the first hurdle against unheralded Finn Mira Potkonen. A change was needed, and Taylor elected to turn pro under Matchroom Sport. The Bray boxer has looked sensational in her two pro fights thus far, and looks set to challenge for world honours in the new year.


The Wayne McCullough Performance of the Year – Carl Frampton (v Leo Santa Cruz)
Moving up to the more comfortable weight of 126lbs, we got to see Frampton in full flow. The Belfast man took on WBA featherweight champion Leo Santa Cruz in a twelve round battle that saw which ‘The Jackal’ dominate early and fend off a late surge to announce himself as one of the top fighters in the sport.


The Patrick Hyland Sr Trainer of the Year – Shane McGuigan
Despite his tender age, the Battersea-based coach continued to add to his amazing list of achievements in 2016. McGuigan was the man in the corner for Carl Frampton’s super bantamweight unification with Scott Quigg and featherweight title win over Leo Santa Cruz, while his other Irish fighter Conrad Cummings claimed three wins and suffered a dubious defeat to Ronnie Mittag.

shane mcguigan

Moment of the Year – Frampton rules the world
Ireland has had world champions, but it has been a long time since we have had one of the world’s pound-for-pound best. This all changed in New York in July when Carl Frampton stepped up in weight to face three-weight world champion Leo Santa Cruz. The Jackal would emerge victorious after a fantastic contest to become a two-weight world champion, enter the pound-for-pound top ten, and solidify his standing as an Irish boxing legend.

frampton santa cruz

The Rinty Monaghan Fighter of the Year – Christina Desmond
The Cork middleweight had a fantastic debut year at Senior international level. The Fr Horgan’s fighter claimed two of Ireland’s five major medals in 2016, taking World University and European bronze, and she has been voted as Ireland’s top boxer ahead of Carl Frampton.


Congratulations to all our winners and nominees and we wish everyone in the Irish boxing family a very happy new year.

Keep a look out for the picks of the editors later today.

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:

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