Highlights, frustrations and hopes: end of year survey part 5

Boxing Monthly
26/12/2017 8:20pm

Boxing Monthly canvassed over 100 figures from boxing for their reflections on 2017 and hopes for 2018. Today Joe Maphosa, Abner Mares (pictured left), Lee Markham, Elliott Matthews, Matt McCarthy, Tommy McCarthy, Tyrone McKenna, Sean Monaghan, Joe Mullender, Joe Murray, Stephen Ormond and Spike O'Sullivan have their say…

Interviews: John Angus MacDonald, Shaun Brown, Andrew Harrison, James Oddy, Danny Winterbottom & Luke G. Williams.


Joe Maphosa, flyweight (3-0)

The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Winning my pro debut in Leeds!
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
Waiting to get things moving with [my] first fight.
My hopes for 2018 are...
To make noise in the flyweights and climb the ranks.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
More big shows in the northeast.

Abner Mares, WBA featherweight champion (31-2-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Continuing to show that I am the champ, maintaining my WBA title with a performance that shows my strength, ability and determination to be the warrior in the featherweight division.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
Patiently waiting on the Santa Cruz rematch. I’m ready, willing and have not stopped training for it. I want it, I’m waiting, let’s hope Leo lets 2018 be the year. I’m ready!
My hopes for 2018 are...
Earn my fifth world title in the featherweight division, continue to lead the sport and help develop some of boxing’s most exciting young talent through my management company including [middleweight] Misael Rodriguez. I’m blessed in that I have an amazing family that I’m so proud of. I have a great team, a great program, and we only see amazing things coming in 2018. I’m blessed and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, happy holidays and blessed New Year!
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
A Mares vs Santa Cruz rematch.

Lee Markham, former English middleweight champion (17-4-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Seeing Tyson Fury getting back in the gym and making a return.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
The GGG v Alvarez result – I think GGG was the clear winner [but] can’t see Alvarez ever losing unless he gets KO'd. Even though I’m big fan of Alvarez he lost a landslide against Mayweather but it was [only] a majority decision on the scorecards. 
My hopes for 2018 are...
Would personally love to see Fury come back - at his best he beats Joshua and Wilder, think he’s such a big character and needed in the heavyweight mix.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
To have a different judging system as there’s too many bad decisions going on and politics - the right man should get the decision regardless of how many tickets he sells etc.

Elliott Matthews, middleweight (20-0-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Winning the English title on 1 December.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
Boxing [14] rounds in 13 months. Six pull outs in British title eliminators, and camps for titles fights with pull outs at three weeks' notice. I just want to get in the ring and do what I know I can and bring back more belts. Simple as that.
My hopes for 2018 are...
Box for a world title at Vicarage Rd - A Watford lads' bill. Can you imagine? It would be amazing. Great line-up too.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...

I wish we were on Premiership [footballer] wages.

Matt McCarthy, Southern Area super-welterweight champion (18-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
The highlight of my career and of the year was defeating unbeaten Tony Milch by TKO on his home show to be crowned Southern Area champion.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
[That] I can’t make boxing my full-time job.
My hopes for 2018 are...
To challenge for a bigger belt and take some good names.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
For people who train their fighters and manage fighters to look after them correctly.

Tommy McCarthy, cruiserweight (11-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Signing with MTK 
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
Inactivity.
My hopes for 2018 are...
[To] win major titles and get up the world rankings.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
A higher standard of judging.

Tyrone McKenna, super lightweight (15-0-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
I've had a lot of great moments this year, but the highlight would probably be when I took on Jake Hanney at the start of the year, there was a lot of pride at stake in that fight with him being from Dublin...and it lived up to the hype with it being a real war at the beginning with me wearing him down and eventually the ref having to jump in and stop the contest.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
When Tommy Coyle pulled out of our fight on Sky Sports...I was ready for the massive step up which would of really put my name in the mix with the top fighters in the UK when I won. But it wasn't meant to be and I still got a good hard ten-round win under my belt against Renald Garrido. 
My hopes for 2018 are...
To stay undefeated, get some big names under my belt and get some more belts round my waist… I think 2018 will be a massive year for me!
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
People avoiding people! This is a fighter’s sport! Fight the top fights, make entertaining fights for the fans [and] don't dodge people!

Sean Monaghan, light heavyweight (29-1)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
I just had my 30th fight which was a big milestone for me. I always respected old-school guys who had a lotta fights so 30 was a cool number for me.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
I lost for the first time in my pro career. Brutally disappointed at first, but I'll use it as a lesson and get better from it.
My hopes for 2018 are...
[That] Joe Smith heals up and we can give the NY fans the fight we've all been wanting.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
Unification bouts, unify all the belts and have one champion.

Joe Mullender, English middleweight champion (10-2)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Winning the English title.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
Being injured after my first fight with Lee Markham.
My hopes for 2018 are...
To fight for the British title.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
More TV [coverage] for all levels of boxing.

Joe Murray, lightweight (23-2)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Being the captain for the UK team against the Africa team and fighting at [the] MEN [Manchester] Arena.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
Not getting my chance to fight for a big title.
My hopes for 2018 are...
To fight for a major title.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
One promoter and everyone fighting each other to see who is the best.

Stephen Ormond, lightweight (24-5)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
I suppose my last fight in October [against Paul Hyland Jr] which I believe I won, but was robbed.
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
[There was] frustration early on in my boxing career [as I] was not getting fight dates so I was always in [the] gym, but I would have liked to be more busy. That has changed now with MTK. They have kept me busy they are great for boxing.
My hopes for 2018 are...
Big TV fights and titles.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
There’s no single thing, it’s everything because there’s always room for improvement.

Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, former Irish middleweight champion (26-2)
The highlight of my boxing year was ...
Topping a Golden Boy card on ESPN, winning a war against Nick Quigley and securing a fight as co-main feature to a WBO world title fight on HBO. 
The biggest frustration or disappointment of my boxing year was ...
That I didn’t manage to land the world title, yet.
My hopes for 2018 are...
To become unified  middleweight champion of the world.
The single thing that would most improve boxing is...
Pay the fighters better.

Ring records correct at time of original interviews, but may have since changed.