/ Boxing

Irish boxers to face France in double header in Cork and Belfast

Updated: Monday, 11 Mar 2013 13:19 | Comments

Katie Taylor will top the bill at both fight nights
Katie Taylor will top the bill at both fight nights

Ireland’s Olympic boxing team will compete in a two-match international against the elite boxers of France at Millstreet, Cork, on Friday 3 May and the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, on Sunday 5 May.

All of Ireland’s London 2012 medal winners will compete on the team, which in full consists of Katie Taylor, John Joe Nevin, Michael Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Darren O’Neill, Joe Ward and Adam Nolan.

There will be a total of 14 bouts over the two fight nights. Each night there will be six male bouts with gold-medal winner Taylor and her French opponent Estelle Mossely - a quarter-finalist in last year’s World Championships - topping the bill.

The international match will be decided on the aggregate scores over the two-night’s boxing and in the event of a tie a countback of all the scores will determine the winner.

The head of the IABA high performance unit, Billy Walsh said: “This international comes just after our boxers will have completed a period of intense preparation culminating in a two-week training camp in Kazakhstan, so they will be in peak condition and the French team also sees this match as key to its preparations for the European finals a month later.

“It will be an exceptional opportunity for boxing purists and general sports fans in Cork and Belfast alike, but it will not be for the faint hearted.

“There will be no quarter asked or given and I expect Katie and the six men in my team to win this series for Ireland.”

The French team will be confirmed within the next few weeks, but its head coach John Dovi said: “Ireland is a powerful boxing nation. Its success in Beijing followed by the superb performance in London means that to compete we have to bring our best boxers and I believe we can triumph over the course of the two fight nights.

“That is certainly our ambition and after intense training since the start of the year, my boxers will be in peak condition for this match just ahead of the European Championships.”

Taylor said she believed her French opponent Mossely would provide her with very stiff opposition.

“I want to continue to test myself and there is no doubt that this match will see me pitched against someone of real quality in Estelle,” said Taylor.

“We were in the same half of the draw in last year’s World Championships, but she was beaten in the quarter-final so we missed what would have been a semi-final fight.

“I’ll be happy to show off my gold medal to the crowd, but I will be focused on winning what promises to be a tough contest and getting a point on the board for Ireland.”

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