Saturday sees the climax of the 2018 IABA Senior Elite Championships at Dublin’s National Stadium where several new champions will be crowned. The tournament has been sponsored by Liffey Crane Hire.
It also sees the re-appearance of the one time ‘amateur’ sport on National broadcaster RTE, with most of the finals live on RTE2. Many of the sport’s fans have been deprived of any RTE Live coverage of boxing now for a few years so this is a welcome ‘reunion’ and hopefully will lead to even more coverage with the possibility of a “Round Robin” International event taking place in mid-June, most likely to be in Cork and involving USA, Russia, Germany, France and near neighbours, Great Britain.
Sadly as we write, news came through that one of Ireland’s top hopes for a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (always assuming that boxing is still on the 2020 Olympic agenda) will miss Saturday’s finals as Cill n Martra’s Christina Desmond is a late withdrawal due to a knee injury sustained in training earlier in the week.
She told RTE Sport: “I decided that it wasn’t worth the risk of making the injury worse,”
“It’s a big year for women’s boxing and I’ll give the injury time to heal now and I’ll be back all the stronger,” she concluded. There will be European and World championships for women in 2018 with the Worlds in India the major event of a busy year. Indeed among those hoping to be even busier are many times Irish champion Ceire Smith from Cavan and Ciary Ginty from Mayo as they also hope for a place in the World University Championships in Russia.
With several of the top males missing due to the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia’s Gold Coast where they will represent Northern Ireland – and Joe Ward missing out due to his representing the Lionhearts in the WSB series it is an ideal opportunity in front of the TV cameras for the women to show just how much their game has improved since Rio 2016
Among the night’s highlights will be the Lightweight final between Kellie Harrington and Amy Broadhurst from the Dealgan club and the clash at 69 kg between Geesala’s Ciara Ginty, a former Youth Olympic silver medallist against Spartacus Tullamore’s ‘pride and joy’, Grainne Walsh. Reigning champion Dervla Duffy from MBA Mulhuddart meets Monkstown Antrim’s Michaela Walsh at 57kg. The Belfast woman took silver against then Olympic Champion Nicola Adams at the 2014 Commonwealth’s in Glasgow so another great scrap is forecast here. This one is sure to be close,
The IABA confirms that sixteen finals will be decided on Saturday night.
The 2018 deciders will be broadcast by RTE2.
Hugh Cahill and former Elite champion Eric Donovan are ‘Live’ from ringside with former Elite champions Darren O’Neill and the recently retired Andy Lee supplying the analysis with Darragh Maloney.
This year, for the first time, the Jimmy Magee Cup will be presented to the Best Female Boxer. The Best Male Boxer will be presented with the President’s Cup.
Irish head coach Zaur Antia will select 14 boxers for three internationals with the USA Stateside next month and it is anticipated that most if not all of the IABA Elite champions will be included.
Both nations are slated to clash in Boston, Manchester and Springfield on March 12/15/21.
Irish squad v USA will be at following weights:
51kg, 54kg, 57kg, 60kg, 69kg
49kg, 56kg, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg, 75kg, 81kg, 91kg, 91kg+
USA chief seconds Billy Walsh has named World bronze medallist Troy Isley, Continental finalists Delante Johnson and 2016 World Youth champion and medallists Marc Castro and Richard Torrs in his panel.
2018 Defending Champions taking part in this year’s IABA finals include:
57kg Dervla Duffy
60kg Kellie Harrington
69kg Grainne Walsh
91kg+ Martin Keenan
(Ciara Ginty won the 64kg belt in 2017 but has moved up to 69kg)
Tickets for the finals can be purchased over the phone on 01-4533371 with debit cards. Tickets are priced at €40 Ringside, €30 Angles and €25 Gallery.
National Elite Championships 2018
48kg Shannon Sweeney (St. Anne’s) V Carol Coughlan (Monkstown Dublin)
81+kg Lisa Browne (Aglish Mayo) V Nell Fox (Rathkeale)
54kg Lauren Hogan (St Brigid’s Edenderry) V Amanda Loughlin (St Michaels Dublin)
51kg Ceire Smith (Virginia/DCU) V Niamh Early (Ryston)
60kg Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan) V Kelly Harrington (St Marys Dublin)
57kg Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart) V Michaela Walsh (Monkstown Antrim)
91kg Kevin Sheehy (St Francis) V Kiril Afansev (Smithfield)
91+kg Martin Keenan (Rathkeale) V Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
69kg Grainne Walsh (Spartacus) V Ciara Ginty (Geesala)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard) V Eugene McKeever (Holy Family Drogheda)
75kg Brett McGinty (Oakleaf) V Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)
49kg Ricky Nesbitt (Carrickmacross) V Conor Jordan (St Aidans)
56kg Evan Metcalfe (Hyland Academy) V Thomas McCarthy (Setanta)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise) V Caoimhin Ferguson (Clonard Antrim)
60kg George Bates (St. Marys Dublin) V Francis Cleary (Ballina)
81kg Brian Kennedy (St Marys Daingean) V Caoimhin Hynes (Holy Trinity)
52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard Antrim) Walkover
64kg Joanne Lambe (Carrickmacross) Walkover
75kg Aoife Burke (St Marys Dublin) Walkover
81kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea) Walkover