Irish Amateurs Perfect for the Pro game

The Irish Elite championships concluded before Christmas and six boxers (Brendan Irvine, David Oliver Joyce, Dean Walsh, Michael O’Reilly, Darren O’Neill, and Dean Gardiner) booked their tickets to the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey and Azerbaijan where they will hope to join Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlan, Steven Donnelly, and Joe Ward at the Rio Olympics.

However, away from these, there were a number of outstanding performances by boxers who did not claim the crown. Many of these fighters are now faced with a choice, do they stay in the vested game until the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, attempting to win National titles and potential spots at the European and World Championships in the meantime – or do they take the plunge, sign on the dotted line, and turn professional?

Indeed, one such fighter, light heavyweight finalist Chris Blaney, has already agreed terms with Ricky Hatton.

Here irish-boxing.com lists five such fighters who we think could make an impact in the paid ranks.

Myles Casey – Bantamweight/Super Bantamweight
In the week that his older brother announced his retirement, ‘Little Bang’ Casey could carry on the family name in the professional game. Boasting the same sort of punch power and volume as his brother Willie, as well as some added amateur nous, the St Francis’s star would be an all-action, exciting pro. Career-wise, the move may also make sense. with Casey somewhat caught between two weights in the amateurs, too big for flyweight and slightly too small for bantamweight where, going forward, he would be faced by the daunting task of trying to dislodge the immensely talented Kurt Walker.

myles casey

James Cleary – Light Welterweight
Still young so he may stay around for Tokyo. The Galway man pushed champion Dean Walsh all the way in the semi finals, hurting him in the final round before being eventually edged out on a split decision. However, the effective pressure and accurate shot-selection of the Olympic BC man suggests that he would make a good professional and he could be the man to bring boxing back to Galway. Additionally, as seen below, Cleary possesses huge power and would be a force to be reckoned with once he sticks on a pair of 8oz gloves.

Ray Moylette – Light Welterweight
Another edged out by Dean Walsh via split decision, Moylette was incensed with the result and has vowed never to box at the National Stadium again. Whether this means he could be tempted by the pro game is unknown as the Mayo man has never previously shown any desire to enter the paid ranks. If he did make the jump, the charismatic Westerner would fit in very well with his attractive, entertaining style. Indeed the perfect example of this is his second round with with Walsh where he threw and landed shots from all angles in a breath-taking display of aggression that almost took the roof off the South Circular Road venue. Perhaps most importantly though, Moylette has a massive fanbase and, as Henry Coyle and Brian Peters can attest to, Mayo people love their boxing.

Ray moylette

Caoimhin Hynes – Light Middleweight
The Belfast man may stick around for Tokyo, but a packed division that will feature the likes of Martin Stokes and Michael Nevin (who have styles somewhat more suited to the amateur code) may entice Hynes to try his luck on the booming Belfast professional scene. Strong as a rhino and always throwing shots with bad intentions, there would surely be plenty of promoters in Ireland’s fight capital looking to snap up the popular youngster.

Thomas Carty – Heavyweight
The Dubliner stole the show in the semi finals with a stunning knockdown against Constantin Popovicu to grab victory. The energetic Glasnevin BC fighter, still just 20, is only going to get stronger as the years go by and, with his skills and personality, he could make a real impact on the Irish pro scene. However, with Dean Gardiner unlikely to stay around for Tokyo, Carty (who is only a baby in heavyweight terms) may opt to remain in the amateur game for a while longer and turn pro after the next Olympics.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]