A look at the current standing of the most significant fighters on the Irish boxing scene today

At Super Bantamweight, Carl Frampton recently made the shock decision to leave Eddie Hearn and Sky, to make his bed with Frank Warren and Boxnation.

Supposedly this was over a disagreement between Hearn and Frampton’s manager Barry McGuigan, as McGuigan, bizarrely and arguably egotistically, wanted co-promotional rights to his contests, something Hearn was never going to agree to. The Frampton camp claimed bias from Sky towards British fighters and felt they weren’t getting the promotion that they deserved from the network. Sky were also reportedly reluctant to return to Belfast to put on a Frampton card, as the costs are much higher than doing shows on the mainland UK, as well as the viewing figures being allegedly below par for Frampton’s fights.

Domestic rival Scott Quigg moved in the opposite direction, from obscurity with Hatton promotions to a strong platform on Sky with Matchroom. He is now set to contest the vacant WBA “Regular” belt (regarded as a legitimate world title by some) against Cuban Yoandris Salinas in the next few months.

Frampton’s first fight with Boxnation was then cancelled due to an ear injury. And, as if that wasn’t enough bad news, the man Frampton knocked out in his last fight, Kiko Martinez has secured an August fight with IBF world titlist Johnathon Romero, despite being shamed recently by the exposure of his links to PED kingpin Eufemiano Fuentes.

How the worm has turned. Frampton will hope to regain his momentum when he fights next in October, likely in Belfast.

Another Irish Super Bantamweight, Willie Casey, is having an even tougher time. The former European champion has been inactive for over a year now since his win over Jason Booth, with no end on the horizon. This is a very disappointing situation, as Casey is a solid fighter who has a lot to offer at European level.


At Middleweight, Andy Lee continues to adjust to his new trainer, Adam Booth, now two wins (over lowly competition) into their partnership. One hopes for a significant fight for Lee soon.

Cork’s Gary “Spike” O’ Sullivan (ranked number 6 going in by the WBO) suffered his first defeat recently, losing a near shutout decision to top prospect Billy Joe Saunders. What disappointed me was Spike’s lack of fire for much of the fight. His trainer, Pascal Collins, was trying to gee him up, but it was only in the last two rounds that he let his hands go. That said, there is no shame in being completely schooled and outclassed by a good young fighter like Saunders, but his world title pretentions, and dreams of an American showdown with world titlist Peter Quillin, are gone forever. There is an outside chance he can rebuild towards a European title shot in the future, and he is set to return on a Frank Warren bill in the coming months. Fights with the likes of Eamon O’ Kane or Anthony Fitzgerald would be good to see.

Matthew Macklin lost his third world title challenge to Gennady Golovkin in crushing fashion, and it looks like he may have to settle for being a nearly man at world level.


At Super Middleweight, it has recently been revealed that another nearly man, Brian Magee, has failed a post-fight drug test for a banned PED, the stimulant Oxilofrine.

This is the same substance which some Jamaican track and field athletes, notably Asafa Powell, tested positive for recently.

He claims to have had it inadvertently enter his system through a contaminated, over the counter product, and UK Anti-Doping have accepted his excuse, doling out a lenient 6 month ban.

Nevertheless, for some, this test failure will place an asterisk next to his career achievements.


At heavyweight, David Haye vs. ex-Irish champion Tyson Fury has officially been signed and I’ll make my prediction right now.

Fury has earned a legitimate top ten ranking by picking up some solid wins over limited competition, but he is chinny, sloppy defensively, uncoordinated, and usually doesn’t use his height or jab well, preferring instead to fight toe to toe.

Haye is the fastest heavyweight in the world, is explosive, and is one of the pound for pound hardest punchers in the sport, as well as having tons of experience fighting at the highest level for many years, his only defeat at heavyweight coming by decision to the best man in the division.

This all adds up to a short night for Fury, who has been put down by right hands in the past from relatively light punchers in Steve Cunningham and Neven Pajkic.

Also, I am amused by the storyline/narrative Sky Sports are trying to push that if the fight goes beyond 6, Fury is likely to win, even though Haye has fought into the late rounds numerous times at the top level, and his stamina problems of the Carl Thompson loss are many years behind him.

In my view, Haye wins by KO2, and I would be SHOCKED if it went past 6.

Full fight video – Gennady Golovkin vs. Matthew Macklin


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