A boxer is often only as good as the main man in his corner, and thankfully in Ireland we are blessed with a number of World class coaches.
One of these coaches, Patrick Hyland Snr, sadly passed away this Summer and this award is named in his honour.
And the nominees are:
It has been a busy year for the head of Celtic Warriors Gym. The Dubliner curently takes charge of the corners of Jono Carroll, Spike O’Sullivan, Luke Keeler, Stephen Ormond, Niall Kenneddy, Steve Collins Jr and Frank Buglioni. 2015 saw the gym post a 20-4-1 on both sides of the Atlantic with Murphy’s Boxing and Matchroom. This month, in a gutsy move that is to his immense credit, Collins showed both great care and knowledge to withdraw Spike O’Sullivan after the 7th round of his grudge match with Chris Eubank to prevent a career-threatening defeat. with Collins has even began to mould the coaches of tomorrow, overseeing young Daniel O’Sullivan, coach of Lynn Harvey.
The youngster’s burgeoning reputation as a top trainer continued to grow in 2015. He showed a calm head and tactical acumen in El Paso to guide Carl Frampton to a win over Alejandro Gonzalez Jr, before winning the BBBoC Celtic super featherweight title with Anto Cacace. Additionally McGuigan has become a trainer of hotshots Josh Taylor and Josh Pritchard as well as boxing superstar David Haye.
Billy Walsh & Zaur Antia
Sadly no longer a duo, Ireland’s High Performance Unit head honchos were been at the forefront of one of, if not the, most successful years in Irish amateur boxing history. This year, Ireland have scored an eye-watering 10 medals at major international tournaments (5 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze). With Walsh now departed to pastures new in the U.S., the Georgian maestro will be hoping to continue the form and achieve for a similarly medal-laden Olympics next Summer in Rio.
It has been a brilliant 2015 for the Dubliner who was named the Sport NI High Performance Coach of the Year. Conlan oversaw the Olympic qualification of Paddy Barnes and his son Michael through the arduous WSB route. Additionally Conlan led the Northern Irish team at the Commonwealth Youth Games (3 Gold, 2 silver), and the Irish team at the European Youth Championships (1 gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze).
He may be in a new gym but John Breen is continuing to do some top work. The Belfast legend has drilled a new and improved style into Paddy Gallagher, while also helping Marco McCullough recover from a devastating KO loss, as well as bringing hotshot Feargal McCrory into the pro ranks.
Gerry ‘Nugget’ Nugent
The legendary trainer has come back to the forefront of the Irish boxing scene this year. The Immaculata head coach has overseen Joe Fitzpatrick’s seamless transition to the pro game and the continued development of hot prospect James Fryers, as well as helping orchestrate Alfredo Meli’s credible draw over Cyclone star Conrad Cummings.
The mastermind behind Tyson Fury’s sensational World title win against Wladimir Klitschko, Peter Fury has marked himself out as one of boxing’s top trainers. It was an unbeaten 2015 for the 47 year old, who looks after the four Fury cousins, amassing a 10-0 record, and it promises to be an even bigger 2016 for the family.
Tony Del Vecchio
The Bondi Boxing Club in Sydney has become a hotbed of Irish pugilism in recent years and trainer Tony Del Vecchio has guided a number of Irish stars to titles this year. Dublin’s Darragh Foley has claimed the Australian lightweight title, Gearoid Clancy of Galway won and defended the New South Wales lightweight belt, and Portlaoise’s TJ Doheny is approaching World level following three successful defences of his PABA super bantamweight title.