Irish boxing braced for huge 2024

Lewis Croker is eying big things in 2024 Credit: Inpho

What a year 2024 is shaping up to be for Irish boxing

Lewis Crocker started the year the way he ended 2023, with a win.

His fifth round knockout against Jose Felix was a tough test just eight weeks off the back of his victory against Tyrone McKenna

He rocked Belfast’s Ulster hall on Saturday and it certainly feels like he is building towards something big.

He possesses the power that will trouble the worlds best and has a growing fanbase.

He won’t fight again until the summer but that is understandable given his quick turn around between his previous bouts. The SSE Arena is booked for a summer showdown

Matchroom Boxing CEO Frank Smith told UTV he’d like to see and all Irish fight between the 'Croc' and Limerick's highly rated Paddy Donovan.

It would be a fight that will sell tickets and capture the imagination of Irish boxing fans north and south.

Crocker isn’t one to shy away from anyone and Donovan would be the toughest test to date.

Whether it happens in the summer or further down the line, it would be something to look forward to.

Irish boxing fans won’t have to wait long for more big fights though.

Belfast's Anto Cacace fights for the IBF world title in Riyadh on the undercard of Tyson Fury’s much anticipated fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

The ‘Apache’ is already an IBO world champion and among his peers has been hailed as the hardest puncher and greatest fight to come from this island.

Big statements for a fighter who has gone under the radar in his professional career, shying away from media duties, in fact he hadn’t fought in his home city for almost a decade when he returned to the SSE Arena last year.

Cordina will be a tough test but what an opportunity for Cacace to showcase his skills on arguably the biggest fight card in decades.

The big fights don’t end there in February as Belfast's Cinderella man Padraig McCrory heads to Orlando for a fight he has craved.

The Hammer will go toe to toe with Edgar Berlanga in a super-middleweight clash in what will be the fight time he takes to the ring on US soil.

Berlanga is a top level opponent winning 21 of his professional fights with 16 coming by knockout, so there is no doubt of the power he possesses.

But if anyone can match him in terms of power it is the 35-year-old Belfast man, McCrory himself has won 18 bouts and to put it straight they don’t call him the hammer for nothing.

A win for McCrory would open up huge opportunities as he would be in line for a world title shot, can you imagine Canelo Alverez fighting in Belfast, a win for McCrory on the 24th February would open the possibility.

Michael Conlan has been a huge figure in Irish boxing as has brought big nights of boxing to Belfast over the years.

His defeat to Jordan Gill in December was a set back for Conlan, he has remained silent over his future, time will tell if we see him take to the ring again.

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