Ireland’s Elite boxers are primed to battle it out in the penultimate weekend of the National Elite Championships at Dublin’s National Stadium on Friday and Saturday evening.
With almost 30 Elite belts between them, Ireland’s World, European gold, silver and bronze medallists and Olympians are pencilled in to clash in the semi-final stages of the flagship tournament of Irish boxing.
David Oliver Joyce, a three-time EU champion, meets his brother and St Michael’s Athy team-mate Hughie Joyce in Friday’s lightweight decider. Dominic O’Rourke, St Michael’s Athy coach and a former IABA President, kicked for touch when asked for a prediction.
“The only prediction we will make is that there will be a St Michael’s Athy boxer in the 60kg final,” he said.
The winner advances to face defending champion Sean McComb, a European Games bronze medallist, or George Bates.
London 2012 Olympians Darren O’Neill and Adam Nolan, both defending champions at heavy and welter, cross swords with Stephen McMonagle and Michael Bustard.
“I’m expecting a very tough semi-final. That’s what I’ve prepared for,” said ex-European Elite silver medallist O’Neill, who targeting his six Elite belt at two separate weights.
Defending light-welter champion Dean Walsh, a 2015 European Elite bronze medallist, is in against Galway ace James Cleary.
Walsh edged ex-European Elite and World Youth champion Ray Moylette on a split decision in a fiery 64kg final last January to secure the belt.
Moylette faces Wayne Kelly over three, three-minute rounds on Saturday. Kurt Walker is the first defending champion between the ropes this weekend versus Cork’s Colin O’Donovan.
Michael O’Reilly begins his defence on Saturday evening. The Portlaoise BC middleweight claimed European Games gold and World Elite bronze this year to go to No 3 in the AIBA World Elite rankings at 75kg.
European Games silver medallist Brendan Irvine and former World Junior champion Willie Donoghue, who claimed bronze for Ireland at the European Youths in Poland last weekend, collide on Saturday.
Irvine won an Elite belt at light-fly earlier this year but has moved up to flyweight, while Donoghue is making his Elite debut. Friday’s card kicks off with a quarter-final between Fearghus Quinn and John Joyce, who also won bronze at the European Youths last weekend and who is also making his Elite debut.
The IABA are running the Elites for a second time this year to facilitate Ireland’s boxers heading into the Olympic qualifiers in 2016.
The Championships conclude with the Elite Finals night on 11 December. The finals bring the curtain down on the domestic year and an historic 12-month period in which Ireland’s boxers secured medals in every international tournament they entered .
December 4th (7.30pm)
75kg Fearghus Quinn (Camlough) v John Joyce (St Michaels Athy)
49kg Regan Buckley (St Teresas) v Darryl Moran (Illies GG)
52kg TJ Waite (Ormeau Road) v Jason McKay (St Pauls Antrim)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal) v Colin O’Donovan (Togher)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (St Michaels Athy) v Hugh Joyce (St Michaels Athy)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Josephs/Ibars) v James Cleary (Olympic)
69kg Adam Nolan (Bray) v Michael Bustard (Monkstown Antrim)
81kg Christopher Blaney (Navan) v Sean McGlinchey (Oakleaf)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) v Stephen McMonagle (Holy Trinity)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel) v Damien Sullivan (Emerald Antrim)
December 5th Semi-finals (7.30pm)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls Antrim) v William Donohue (St Michaels Athy)
56kg Jason Kirwan (Ballagh) v Myley Casey (St Francis)
60kg George Bates (St Marys Dublin) v Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Athlone) v Ray Moylette (St Annes)
69kg Caoimhin Hynes (Holy Trinity) v Martin Stokes (Holy Family Drogheda)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise) v Winner
75kg Conor Wallace (St Monicas Newry) v Eddie Byrne (Na Fianna)
81kg John Paul Delaney (Emerald A) v Sean Allen (Arklow)
91kg Kiril Afanasev (Smithfield) v Bernie O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
91+kg Thomas Carty (Glasnevin) v Constantin Popivicu (Johnstown)