Only last week, the ten time Elite Irish Champion Kenny Egan announced his intention of moving up to heavy-weight. At this weekend’s Unseeded Open Championships final that decision was vindicated when he defeated Antrim’s Stephen ward 13-5 in the “Box Off” final at Dublin’s National Stadium. Ward was a silver medallist for Northern Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi but he had no answer to the 2008 Olympic Silver medallist and three times champion of the European Union.
In so doing, Egan is likely to have booked himself a ticket on the plane to Baku for the World Championships – and Olympic Qualifier, always assuming of course that he is the recommended choice of Irish High Performance unit Chief and the IABA .
Egan said later:-
“I have a sore left hand but it’s nothing to worry about. I’m nearly sure I’ll be on the team . . . If they sent just me to Azerbaijan I’ll be happy. I think I am after earning my place on the plane by now,” said the Neilstown southpaw..
“I’ll have to focus on putting on a bit of weight. I’d like to sit around 88Kg or 89Kg and then I’d be able to come down to 85Kg for the World Series calendar.”
Another Irish boxer back to somewhere near his best is St Michael’s BC’s Roy Sheehan. He had slipped down the rankings, mainly due to recent hand injuries, but in the final here he gained a 14-10 victory of Portlaoise’s young prospect, Michael O’Reilly in the welterweight division. O’Reilly is one of Ireland’s best young hopes for the future and he will have learn much in a final where the lead changed hands twice in this 69kg duel. Sheehan one may recall gained Gold for Ireland at the 2007 EU’s (together with Egan and the late Darren Sutherland).
“I’m glad I came out on top. I trained very hard for this. I was out for the last three years with a broken hand and this is my first time fully fit and hopefully it will get better from here on,” said Sheehan. “If they pick me for the World Championships I will be in good shape.”
Another Irish champion and former EU titleholder, David Oliver Joyce also had a good win at the Stadium defeating
“Hopefully, that’s my ticket booked now for the Olympic qualifier. After the seniors I had to look forward and not backward. I was looking forward to this one. The last box-off I had I wasn’t really training. This one I trained hard for,” he said.
Belfast flyweight Michael Conlon was another winner on Saturday, so too Davey Joe Joyce, a World Youth bronze medallist, whilst Elite heavyweight titleholder Con Sheehan, moved up from heavyweight to super-heavyweight following Egan’s decision to ply his trade at heavyweight took the 91+kg event with a 17-7 win over Drimnagh’s Sean Turner.
There were two Women’s “invitation” bouts also on the weekend bill, both involving Irish and Dutch champions. Ireland’s representatives were World and European champion Katie Taylor and Drimnagh’s Sinead Kavanagh .The Dutch Federation,who host the European Womens championships in Rotterdam in October sought experienced opponents for two of their best, Willeke Verdellen and Nouchka Fontijn . The 24 years old Verdellen fought a gallant fight but with only 21 fights under her belt was no match for Taylor who has experienced over 106 such contests with the Bray woman ending up 22 – 4 ahead at the final bell. That said Verdellen gave of her all and will have benefited considerably from this experience according to her coach, and the Dutch Federation.
Alas, from an Irish viewpoint, Kavanagh lost 17-10 to Willeke’s compatriot Nouchka Fontijn ,and here too the Dutch were delighted at their boxer’s performance. . Saturday’s win was Taylor’s second in 48-hours since she had already defeated Sweden’s Helena Falk, on a unanimous points verdict, at the Royal Hotel in Bray on Thursday.
Unseeded Open Elite Competition National Stadium Dublin
August 13th – Finals
52Kg: Michael Conlon (St John Bosco) beat Ruairi Dalton (Holy Trinity) 15-8
56Kg: Danny Coughlan (St Anne’s) lost to Tyrone McCullagh (Holy Family GG) 4-8
60Kg: Mark O’Hara (Holy Trinity) lost to David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) 5-15
60Kg: Katie Taylor (Ireland) beat Willeke Verdellen (Holland) 22-4
64Kg: Ross Hickey (Grangecon) beat Sonny Upton (Holy Family) 19-12
69Kg: Roy Sheehan (St Michael’s Athy) beat Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise) 14-10
75Kg: Sinead Kavanagh (Ireland) lost to Nouchka Fontijn (Holland) 10-17
75Kg: Stephen O’Reilly (Twin Towns) lost to Jason Quigley (Finn Valley) 16-23
81Kg: Patrick O’Shea (Sunnyside) lost to Davey Joe Joyce (Ballincargy) 3-17
91Kg: Stephen Ward (Monkstown, Antrim) lost to Ken Egan (Neilstown) 5-13
91Kg+: Con Sheehan (Clonmel) beat Sean Turner (Drimnagh) 17-7
69Kg: Adam Nolan (Bray) lost to Roy Sheehan (St Michael’s Athy) 11-20
69Kg: Karl Brabazon (St Saviours OBA) lost to Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise) 9-26
75Kg: Stephen O’Reilly (Twin Towns) beat Shane Murtagh (Crumlin) 18-11
75Kg: Conrad Cummings (Holy Trinity) lost to Jason Quigley (Finn Valley) 9-13
81Kg: Patrick O’Shea (Sunnyside) beat Danny O’Brien (St Lukes) 13-11
91Kg: Stephen Ward (Monkstown, Antrim) beat Jimmy Sweeney (Drimnagh) 12-6
91Kg: Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett) lost to Ken Egan (Neilstown) 6-10
91+kg; Con Sheehan (Clonmel) beat Cathal McMonagle (Holy Trinity) 21-7
91+Kg: Sean Turner (Drimnagh) beat Ken Okungbowa (Athlone) RSC2
52Kg: Michael Conlon (St John Bosco) beat Declan Geraghty (Crumlin) 15-11
52Kg: Chris Phelan (Ryston) lost to Ruairi Dalton (Holy Trinity) 12-13
56Kg: Danny Coughlan (St Anne’s) beat Michael Stephens (Drimnagh) 7-5
56Kg: Glen Murray (St Saviours OBA) lost to Tyrone McCullagh (Holy Family GG) 3-8
60Kg: Anthony Upton (Holy Family GG) lost to Mark O’Hara (Holy Trinity) 9-16
60Kg: Eric Donovan (St Michael’s Athy) lost to David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) 16-16 c/b 88/91
64Kg: Ross Hickey (Grangecon) beat Stephen Carroll (Drimnagh) 23-6
64Kg: Sonny Upton (Holy Family GG) beat Philip Sutcliffe (Crumlin) 14-12