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Boxing: Irish talent pool is running deep

The nominees for the Irish Boxing Writers' Association Boxer of the Year and Prospect of the Year are proof of the healthy state of Irish professional boxing.

Who would you choose from the following: Carl Frampton, Tyson Fury, Patrick Hyland, Brian Magee, Matthew Macklin? The list of prospects includes super-featherweight Anthony Cacace (6-0, 3 KOs), welterweight Paddy Gallagher (2-0, 1 KO), light heavyweight Ray Ginley (4-0, 2KOs), middleweight Dee Walsh (5-0, 1KO) and welterweight Matthew Wilton (4-0, 1KO).

Frampton headlines a super bill at the Odyssey, Belfast on February 9 when he meets Kiko Martinez (27-3-0, 19KOs) to dispute the EBU European super bantamweight title. Other eagerly anticipated bouts on the night include Andy Lee v Anthony Fitzgerald, Martin Lindsay v Lee Selby and Eamonn O'Kane v Gary Boulden.



Sutcliffe pro bow

Philip Sutcliffe Jnr is gearing up for his first bout in the pro ranks. He'll meet Latvian Gvido Seilis at the Fairways Hotel in Dundalk on March 9 on The Homecoming bill, which also features Ireland's unbeaten female pro Christina McMahon and Stephen "Block" Reynolds from Sligo.



Finals countdown

Given the expected interest this year, advance booking is advised for the National Elite Senior finals (now being dubbed the Road to Rio starts here) at Citywest Hotel on February 22. Tickets from Ticketmaster.