And Women of course.
The Irish have a proud boxing history and right now we have more Irish professional boxers on bills all over the world than ever before.
Katie Taylor, born and bred in Bray, County Wicklow is fast becoming rated the world’s best women boxer.
Cecilia Braekhus and Clarressa Shields may dispute this, but this weekend (15th March) in Philadelphia, Taylor challenges Brazilian Rose Volante for her WBO Women’s Lightweight title while putting her own WBA and IBF versions up for grabs. The WBC title held by Belgium’s Delfine Persoon (41-1-0) will be Katie’s next target if successful.
Taylor’s fight is on the undercard of Dublin’s Jonjo Carroll’s attempt to win the IBF Super-Featherweight title from hometown boy Tevin Farmer. Also on the bill is former Olympic Silver medallist John Joe Nevin now boxing in the Lightweight division. Nevin boxes Columbian Andres Figueroa.
The following night at Madison Square Garden, New York, Belfast’s Michael Conlan appears in the joint main feature against Mexican Ruben Garcia Hernandez as well as former amateur team mate Paddy Barnes, also a native of Belfast, who is due to square off against Oscar Mojica.
As it is St Patrick’s day weekend it is hardly surprising to see the promoters stacking their cards with Irish fighters, but it is hard to remember a time when they could do so with such high quality talent.
On Saturday 23rd March, one of Ireland’s most decorated amateur stars fights at the Copperbox Arena in London in his 16th start as a professional. Jason Quigley from Ballybofey, County Donegal boxes on this side of the pond for the first time since hanging up his amateur vest.
Quigley was snapped up by Golden Boy Promotions who now have promotional ties with Matchroom Boxing USA through their deal with US streaming services DAZN. Hence, Quigley gets a spot on the undercard of Charlie Edward’s first defence of the WBC Flyweight title.
Billed out of Woodland Hills, California, Quigley has what it takes to rise to the top of the Middleweight division and challenge the likes of Golden Boy stablemate Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the not too distant future. A fight that I am sure Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya has had in mind for some time.
Also worth mentioning is Jamie Kavanagh, a lightweight prospect with 21 wins and 1 defeat, who also boxes out of California with Golden Boy Promotions. Kavanagh hasn’t boxed since 2015 following the deaths of both his father and uncle. Jamie is another highly decorated former Irish amateur star, let’s hope he can get back to what he does best.
So, Happy St Paddy’s Day (Sunday 17th) to all “The Fighting Irish” wherever you are doing battle.