McCallig vs Meagher: Irish Thai boxing veteran and rising prospect go to war April 8th at Extreme Fight Night
On April 8th, a veteran of Irish Thai boxing locks horns with an up-and-coming prospect who’s been making waves and taking big scalps on his march up the rankings.
Warriors’ Karl McCallig returns to competitive action, on Irish soil, and the man welcoming him back will be Courage Muay Thai’s Dylan “Big Red” Meagher, in a full Thai rules 79 kg bout.
McCallig is a staple name in the higher echelons of Muay Thai in Ireland, rising through the ranks alongside Warriors’ Head Coach Cian Cowley, as the pair became two of the most ominous and talented fighters in the sport.
Today, the landscape of Thai boxing is vastly different. A new breed of competitors has broken through, spearheaded by the likes of Lionheart’s Craig Coakley, Siam Warriors Ryan Sheehan and, the aforementioned, Dylan Meagher.
“Big Red” has been on a destructive run of form in the past few months, losing just once in 14 bouts. On his way to a collision course with McCallig, he’s taken victories over top fighters like Damien Darker, Islam Bisayev and Liam McGill; the only loss fell at the hands of veteran Wayne Grant for the Irish Supermiddleweight title.
At Extreme Fight Night, Meagher gets an opportunity to test himself against arguably one of the best active fighters in Ireland. While McCallig will seek to make a statement to the rest of the division and silence his doubters.
Adding fuel to the fire, McCallig fired shots at Meagher on Facebook last Sunday asking, “How can you be the best when grant bet you handy?” This sparked a war of words between the two.
Call it disrespectful, call it unsportsmanlike behaviour, but this is promotion at its finest. Respect between fighters in common place in Thai boxing, no matter what is said outside a ring, when they step inside a mutual respect is evident.
Speaking to Fightstore Media, Dylan Meagher agreed, “I’m not really making anything off it to be honest, it’s not really riling me up. I’m happy he put it up because it’s a great way to promote the fight and sell tickets. It’s going to be even better when people look back on that after I beat him. They’ll say, yeah, Dylan was right.
“I’m not bitter about our exchanges on Facebook, I don’t let things like that get to me. There is a mutual respect. He is a top fighter I won’t take that away from him at all but I’m going to prove that I’m also a top fighter; a better fighter. This is my chance to do it so I’m 100 per cent going to take it. I believe I’m on a different level to Karl McCallig.”
On McCallig’s reference of his loss to Grant, he said, “I was a bit put off by that, I didn’t really reply to it. The way he made it out was that Grant beat me handy which we all know isn’t true.”
“Anyone with a knowledge of the sport knows that losing a fight like that is only going to make you better as a fighter. Especially when I’m still such a young guy and that was my first loss. That’s only made me a better fighter. Since that loss, I’ve come back stronger and beaten two very good opponents whereas the last time Karl fought he’s been hiding since.”
Meagher believes that McCallig disappeared after his devastating loss to Keith Levins on Cage Kings two years ago and explained how he’ll beat him.
“He hasn’t fought in Ireland since, I know he said he fought in China and Thailand, that’s all well and good, but this will be his first fight on Irish soil since his loss to Keith Levins I’m pretty sure. I plan on exposing him on the 8th of April for what he is; and that’s just a one-dimensional fighter with a lot of power and a lot of strength; that’s about it. I’m on a different level to him technique and skill wise. That’ll show on the 8th April.”
With tickets selling fast Meagher sent a message of what those in attendance can expect from him on the night.
“They can expect an explosive fight because I think the two of us are really going to be going in for the kill in this one. He’s got the home support and I’m in the lion’s den so to speak. It’s going to be good craic, I really can’t wait for it.”
“I’ve thought about fighting Karl for years and in fairness to him he’s been on top for a long time. Even when I started training Thai four or five year-ago Karl would have been one of the top guys. He’s been on my mind a long time and I can’t wait to get in the ring with him,” he said.
Extreme Fight Night promoter Lar Byrne also gave us his thoughts on the match-up. He expressed his excitement for the bout, reiterating why it’s not to be missed.
“The hype about this fight is huge. There hasn’t been this much hype about a fight in Dublin since McCallig Vs Levins back in 2015. People are saying McCallig has a weak chin because he got Knocked out that night but they seem to forget he had Levins rocked in the first-round of that fight and it was pretty much always gonna be whoever landed the cleanest shot in those small gloves was gonna be the victor. I feel if that fight happens again, full Thai rules there would be a different outcome.
“I see all over social media people are writing Dylan Meagher off but they said the same when he was matched against Damien Darker and again before he beat Islam Bisayev in Cork. He’s no stranger to being perceived as the underdog and has time and again proved everyone wrong. He is 14-1 for a reason and he’s never been stopped. When I called his team to make the fight he was absolutely pumped, he’s up for it, he literally can’t wait to get in there and fight Karl. I’m excited for this fight myself. It’s a huge domestic fight and the whole community is excited about it,” he said.
Extreme Fight Night
Saturday 8th April
Good Council GAA Club
15 years old with ID and paying adult €15
Juniors -10 €10
Tickets on sale now.