Joe Ward pictured at a press conference in 2023. [Inpho/Gary Carr]

Brennan gets 1st Irish SPD win

Dubliner Emmett Brennan triumphed on his U.S. debut via a gutsy eight-round majority points decision over Devaun Lee at the Sony Hall in Manhattan, New York, last week Thursday.  

 The 2020 Olympian’s victory was on the first of four shows States-side featuring several Irish fighters in the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day.

This Thursday at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, Bobby McGuire’s FDNY boxing team – which includes Irish light heavyweights Danny Quinn, Sean Dillon and Shane Dorgan -- takes on a select side of fire fighters and police from England and across the U.S. in the 2024 International Battle of the Badges. The first bout is at 7:30 p.m.

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On Friday night at the same Garden venue, Cork super welterweight star “King” Callum Walsh, Tyrone’s “Fearless” Feargal McCrory, and Westmeath light heavyweight “Mighty” Joe Ward will co-feature in separate bouts on the Tom Loeffler 360 Promotions event. 

 And on Saturday night in Redwood City,  outside San Francisco, undefeated prospect Tommy “The Governor” Hyde [7-0, 4 KOs] meets Boxing Union of Ireland [BUI] Celtic super middleweight Champion Craig “BTL” McCarthy [10-1-1, 2 KOs] in the main event of a Westside Promotions card.


Brennan, who’s 32 and the BUI Celtic light heavyweight champion, improved his professional record to 3-0 with the win over Lee [11-11-1, 6 KOs] on the show promoted by Larry Goldberg’s Boxinginsider promotions. There were no knockdowns.

They got off to a cautious start in the opening stanza, with Brennan working behind a left the jab, while Lee used footwork to stay out of harm’s way while trying to catch Brennan coming in.

The paced picked up after that with Brennan connecting consistently with one-twos and Lee landing uppercuts. Still it remained close until the sixth round when Brennan caught his man with some clean shots. He fought cautiously in the final round and when it went to the cards, one of the judge scored it 76-76 while the other two had Brennan winning by scores of 78-74 and 77-75.

At the Garden on Friday night, the talented and unbeaten Walsh [9-0, 7 KOs] is matched against hard-hitting Kazakh veteran Dauren Yeleussinov  [11-3-1, 10 KOs] in a 10-rounder for the vacant WBC Americas and Continental super welterweight title.

Hailed as the fastest rising star in boxing, Walsh holds the WBC US Silver 154-pound belt.

McCrory, a 15-0, 7 KO super featherweight, squares off with Mexican Carlos Carlson [25-7, 16 KOs] in the 10-round co-feature. They’ll dispute the WBA continental Americas super featherweight title.

Meanwhile, Joe Ward [10-1, 6 KOs] tackles Derrick Webster [29-4-1, 14 KOs], a Glassboro, New Jersey, resident with extensive experience as a sparring partner for some of prizefighting’s recent stars. These include Roy Jones, Jr., the Russian Sergey Kovalev, and Andre Ward who held both world super middleweight and light heavyweight titles and retired undefeated after 32 fights.

Out west in California, the all-Irish clash between Tommy “The Governor” Hyde and Craig “BTL” McCarthy highlights the St. Patrick’s Day weekend boxing action at the Fox Theater in Redwood City. They are scheduled to do eight rounds.

“He’s a southpaw, fit and always in top shape, and he always comes to fight,” Hyde said of McCarthy. “He won his title at home on a show I was on in my fourth pro fight. I was watching his fight with my coach, and he said, ‘We’ll get him next year,’ and here we are.

 “I’m a boxer but if we get in the center of the ring, I’ll go toe-to-toe with him, and that will really get the Irish fans into it. It’s going to be a good night on St. Patrick’s Day Eve, the parade is on the same day as the show but in the afternoon.”

The 2023 Irish Prospect of the Year, Hyde is now training in the U.S. He had a six-week training camp in Santa Monica, California, for this fight under head trainer Pedro Nemes.

Hyde was a celebrated amateur with more than 100 bouts. He reached the quarterfinals of the World Junior Championships in 2015, in addition to capturing three Irish National Championships, three Celtic Cup titles and the 2019 Haringey Box Cup.

Meanwhile, following are the bouts for this Thursday’s 2024 International Battle of the Badges featuring the FDNY boxing team against a select side of fire fighters and police from England and across the U.S. at the Theater at the Garden.

The FDNY amateurs will square off against fighters from police and fire departments from Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Yonkers and West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom for a charity match supporting the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Bantamweight - Aaliyah Abrahams FDNY – MTA  vs. Lisa Pearson West Yorkshire FD; welterweight -  Julian Gonzalez FDNY EMT ST. 17  vs.   Faisal Khan West Yorkshire FD; middleweights -  Ernesto Pagan FDNY Eng. Co 72.  vs.  Timothy Cone Atlanta PD; and Nick Mertens Chicago FD  vs.   Mike Damiani NYC MTA PD.

 Light heavyweights - Prince Jacobs FDNY EMT Dispatch  vs.  Gavin Connor Denver PD; Chris Palodino Yonkers FD  vs. Chris Mayer Atlanta PD; Dmitri Vystoropski FDNY Eng. Co. 62  vs. Preston Brooks Atlanta FD; James Gennari FDNY Lad Co. 24  vs. Rich Fella West Yorkshire FD; Danny Quinn FDNY Lad Co. 9   vs. Jesse Peterford NYPD 61 Pct.; Sean Dillon FDNY Eng. 283  vs. George Dubbins West Yorkshire FD; and Shane Dorgan Unattached  vs. Freddie Almonte Victory Boxing.

 Cruiserweight - Phil Rivera Eng Co. 96  vs.  Abel Aguilera Denver FD; heavyweight - Vinny Palumbo FDNY Eng. 253. vs. Liam Stables West Yorkshire FD; super heavyweights - Victor Woods FDNY Lad Co. 17  vs.  Mitch Sturm Denver FD; and Jeff Davis, Port Arthur, TX. FD  vs. Davie Scott Yonkers FD.