Bernard O'Neill

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association today confirmed a nine-strong squad for the European Elite Men’s Championships in the Ukraine.

The 2017 European Championships, the 42nd edition of the tournament since 1925, runs from June 14th to June 25th in Kharkiv.

Rio 2016 and London 2012 Olympians Brendan Irvine, Steven Donnelly, Joe Ward and Darren O’Neill have been named in the Irish panel for the tournament which will act as the only qualifier for the 2017 World Elite Championships in Hamburg, Germany in August/September.

The top eight boxes (quarter-finalist) in each of the ten weights in Kharkiv book tickets for Hamburg. European has the highest quota of all the continents with 80 berths.

A total 280 boxers will compete at the 2017 World Championships. 260 of those places are available through the qualification process with the other 20 places going to the host nation (10) and wild cards (10).

Ward and O’Neill have won three European medals (two gold for Ward and one silver for O’Neill) at between them at European Elite level since 2010 and Irvine and McComb have claimed silver and bronze at the European Games.

Bernard Dunne, who was appointed Irish Athletic Boxing Association High-Performance Director last month, will travel with the Irish squad to the Ukraine.

Irish boxing, with current head coach Zaur Antia playing a major role in the success, has finished in the top three – top two on three occasions behind Russia – in the medals table at the last four European Championships.

European Elite Men’s Championships Kharkiv, Ukraine 14-25 June 

Irish squad

52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls)

56kg Kurt Walker (Canal)

60kg Patrick Mongan (Olympic)

64kg Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)

69kg Steven Donnelly (All Saints)

75kg Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin)

81kg Joe Ward (Moate)

91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

91+kg  Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)