The Battle of Jobstown - Rivals Carl McDonald and Dylan McDonagh will go to war for green belt
They are very familiar with each other, respect each other and even get on quite well whenever their paths cross.
But on November 24, Dylan McDonagh and Carl McDonald will meet in the main event of Celtic Clash 7 with everything on the line.
In this case, everything really does mean everything. They will go toe-to-toe in Good Counsel with the Irish Super Bantamweight title on the line – but this is worth even more to these two.
These are two Dubs, more to the point two Tallaghtmen, in what is sure to be one of the fights of the year. Make that two lads from Jobstown, who’ve grown up literally around the corner from each other.
It’s probably fair to say there are bragging rights at stake.
For McDonald, it was the only fight he wanted after winning the BUI Celtic Featherweight title with a win over Cork’s Colin O’Donovan at Celtic Clash 6, and he feels he is ready for what is the biggest fight of his career.
He has already been involved in a domestic dust-up, when being outpointed by Regan Buckley last year, but the 29-year-old feels he is a different fighter now.
“What a difference 12 months makes,” McDonald told the Herald.
“There was a lot of stuff going on then that I don’t talk about – my head wasn’t right.
“But I’ve got all of that sorted and I’m now going to pick up my second belt on November 24.
“This was the fight that everybody was calling for and myself and Dylan both stepped straight up to the plate. It’s like a local derby so it’s going to have that extra spice.
The fight is scheduled for 120lbs, which is about as low as McDonald would plan on fighting at but, perhaps to add that little bit of extra flavour to an already mouthwatering contest, he has brought his opponent’s former trainer Frank Stacey in to take care of his nutrition.
“There’ll be no problem making weight, no problem at all. Frank came to me and asked if I’d like him to provide me with my meals and to help get down to the weight so I was happy for him to come on board. I’ll be bang on on the night and will be the new Irish champion.”
McDonagh has seen his own stock rise this summer and, having beaten the dangerous Georgi Gergiev in July he took a fight against Commonwealth gold medallist Sean McGoldrick as the co-main event live on Skysports in Cardiff, eventually only being beaten by the odd round in eight.
He has since switched camps and is a training partner of Stephen McAfee, who also fights on November 24 for a green strap, under Jonathan Lewins – and he feels his time has come.
Speaking to the Herald before heading off for sparring with former world champs Anthony Crolla and Paul Butler with his trainer and team-mate to Gallagher’s Gym in Bolton, McDonagh explained that he feels better than he ever has.
He said: “It’s been a brilliant few months – I’ve learned so much from the Georgiev fight and, then, when just missing out in Cardiff.
“I’d always jump at the chance of fighting live on TV for Matchroom so it was a fight taken on four days and that’s the only reason I lost by the single round.
“But I’m looking forward now to winning my first title – things have been brilliant since I moved to Jonathan’s – we’ve really gelled straight away. I’m off now with Stephen and Jonathan this weekend for sparring with Paul Butler and Anthony Crolla, and that’s going to bring me on even more.
“Honestly, I’ve never been better and I really feel Carl’s in for a rough night.”
Promoter Leonard Gunning, of Boxing Ireland Promotions, says fans are in for a treat on a night that also features another Irish title fight between McAfee and Fergal McCrory, the return of Lynn Harvey, as well as debuts for Siobhan O’Leary and Kerryman Kevin Cronin.
“This is the fight everyone inside Irish boxing has been asking us to make for over a year now,” Gunning told the Herald.
“Really, there was nowhere for them to hide from each other as it’s the perfect match and the perfect narrative to build it from a promoter’s perspective.
“I simply cannot wait for it to happen on another cracking Celtic Clash show.”