This was without doubt one of the best – if not the best ever Irish Senior National Championships, or the Elites are they are now known.
The boxer of the tournament, and deservedly so, went to Joe Ward with his resounding 29:10 victory over Kenny Egan in the Light Heavyweight final.Here courtesy IABA.ie is a report on finals night at the National Stadium.
Joe Ward retained his Irish Elite light-heavyweight title following a
commanding win over Ken Egan at the National Stadium in Dublin
The “clash of the southpaws”, a repeat of the 2011 final which Ward
also won, saw the current European champion rack up a 29-10 victory
over the 2008 Olympic silver medalist.
Egan probably scored the first point of this encounter with a right
jab within the first three seconds. However, from that point on Ward
began to take control of the contest and claimed the first 9-5 before
forcing Egan into a standing count in the second en route to
stretching his lead 17-8 by the end of the round.
The third round was all Ward also, and while Egan managed to find the
target with his trademark jabs, the 2010 AIBA World Youth champion was
picking up more scores with some power-packed combinations.
This was an emphatic statement of intent by the 18-year-old, who, if
he remains at light-heavy, looks set to dominate the 81Kg division in
Ireland in the second decade of the 21st century the same way that
Egan dominated the opening 10-years.
“I’m delighted with my performance. I went in there with the right
tactics. I used them well and I got the right result, said Ward, who
also collected the boxer of the Championships award.
“I knew if I made him miss he would walk into the big shots. No
disrespect to him, he came out in the first round to fight. He did not
come out to move – he came out to go forward.
“I really enjoyed it. I knew what was going to happen and how long it
would take because I had the bigger shots. I had the technique in them
and I really performed well.”
“Kenny is a legend. It’s good that there is someone new coming in
taking over from Kenny. Hopefully I can do as much as he did. I just
want to say thanks to Eddie Bolger, John Joyce and the Sports Council
for looking after me.”
Egan, gracious in defeat, said that if Ward qualified for the Olympics
that he would put money on him to finish amongst the medals.
Meanwhile, Michael McDonagh withstood a third round surge from David
Oliver Joyce to secure a 17-14 victory over the St Michael’s Athy
lightweight. Joyce put in a big three minutes here, but defending
champion McDonagh met fire with fire in a rematch of the 2011 decider
There was further disappointment for the Athy BC, after Adam Nolan,
the defending champion, beat Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce.
Nolan, who boxes out of the Bray BC, held a 12-10 lead going down the
final stretch of this three-rounder and was also in possession of a
two point advantage at the end of a thrilling third frame.
However , there was no Bray BC double tonight after Ross Hickey
retained the light-welterweight title at the expense of Stephen
Coughlan. Hickey. a bronze medal winner at the 2008 European
Championships, fired home some excellent right hooks throughout this
encounter on his way to an impressive 21-5 verdict.
Belfast heavyweight Tommy McCarthy landed his first Irish Elite title
at the third time of asking. The Ulster ace, who was beaten by Ken
Egan in the 2009 and 2010 light-heavyweight finals, did it the
spectacular way also, knocking out Christy Joyce with a big right
within 20 seconds of the final bell.
Waterford light-flyweight Lynne McEnery claimed the first title of the
evening following a hard-fought victory over Oliwia Samsanov. McEnery
held a 4-2 advantage at the end of the first en route to a 16-13
World number eight Paddy Barnes and Hugh Myres shared an exciting
first frame 8-8, Barnes landing damaging looking body shots, Myres
responding with right hooks to the head.
The second saw more of the same, Barnes finding the body and head with
combinations, Myres’ right hand over the top picking up some valuable
points to leave the light-flyweight decider poised on a 14-13
advantage to Barnes going into the final three minutes.
However, Barnes, the 2010 European champion, pulled away to secure a
21-17 win – and his sixth title in-a-row – from a top class contest.
“No easy fights here. I was surprised.They were fast punches but they
were not heavy. We were catching each other with shots to the body.
I’m confident I can get one of the four qualifying spots (at the
Olympic qualifiers in Turkey in April). I feel I’m the best in Europe
and I want to prove that. I want about three more flights and I’ll be
flying.” said Barnes after his win.
London 2012 Olympian John Joe Nevin recorded a landslide 23-3 win over
his cousin Michael Nevin in the bantamweight final. Michael, who boxed
bravely throughout, took a standing count off a combination near the
end of the second and was dropped by a right in the third as two-time
AIBA World medalist John Joe cruised to his fifth Elite crown on-the
World Youth bronze medalist Michaela Walsh took a standing count in
the third versus Dervla Duffy in the women’s featherweight final.
However, it was Walsh’s hand that was raised in victory by a
two-point margin at the end of four entertaining rounds.
Irish 2012 Olympian Michael Conlan registered the red corner’s fifth
straight win of the night versus Chris Phelan in the first of the
televised bouts. Conlan, who had his dad and brother, John and Jamie,
working his corner, earned a 19-11 decision over Chris Phelan to
successfully defend the flyweight title he won for the first time in
Conlan took the first round 6-2 and was 13-7 up at the end of the
second. The Belfast stylist landed a stunning right in the final
stanza of this encounter, but, and credit to Phelan, the Ryston BC man
kept firing in punches right up to the concluding bell.
Defending champion and 2012 Olympian Darren O’Neill received a
walkover in the middleweight section after Conor Coyle withdrew
Con Sheehan secured his fifth Irish title in-a-row after chalking up a
25-10 win over Dublin super-heavyweight Sean Turner. The Drimnagh BC
clubman raised the decibels with a sustained flurry mid- way through
the second, but Sheehan regained the momentum to post a convincing
All of the night’s winners were boxing out of the red corner.
After fight quotes:
Paddy Barnes “It is just the lack of fights. I need more competitive
fights, three ideally, to prepare and be at my best for the Olympic
qualifier in Turkey and hopefully I’ll get the competition that I
need. I will be much sharper for that. There will be no ring rust by
Tommy McCarthy’s coach Patsy McAllister: “Tommy trained so hard for
this, was in great shape, feeling very good and it was all about
putting a performance together. He did that.”
Joe Ward: “I enjoyed being in there. I am really happy with my
performance. I just want to say thanks to Eddie Bolger, John Joyce and
the Sports Council for looking after me. Basically that is why I came
back here and won – I did not have to go to the WSB where I would have
had to change my tactics. I really focused on the seniors and
qualifying for the Olympics.”
“The best of luck to him (Joe Ward) in the qualifiers.If he qualifies
I’m going to put a couple of grand on him to win a medal,” ten-time
Irish Elite champion Ken Egan.
“He’s (Joe Ward) a fantastic talent,” former Irish Elite champion Mick Dowling.
“He’s (Joe Ward) just turned 18-years of age. A great performance all
round,” former Elite and WBA champion Bernard Dunne.
“Absolutely delighted with the win. He put in a great performance,”
coach Martin Fennessey reacts to Con Sheehan’s win over Sean Turner.
“I’m holding a winning ticket here signed C Sheehan, Clonmel,
Tipperary”, IABA MC Al Morris from ringside announcing that Con
Sheehan, who claimed his fifth Elite title in-a-row , also bought the
winning ticket in the 50/50 raffle. Some guys have all the luck!
.”I’d say it was level at one stage. I had to put my foot down. Up to
that it was all in the melting pot, ” Adam Nolan commenting on the
crucial third round between himself and John Joe Joyce.
Adam McClean, Martin Brereton, Stephen Reynolds and Denis Galvin
received awards for their service and loyalty to Irish amateur
The quartet were presented with their awards by the Deputy Lord Mayor
of Dublin, Michael O’Sullivan.
The 2012 Elite National Championships were sponsored by the Irish Daily Star.
Elite 2012 Championships Finals February 3rd – National Stadium Dublin
48Kg: (Light-flyweight): Lynne McEnery (St Pauls) beat Oliwia
Samsanov (Cavan) 16-13
49Kg: (Light-flyweight) Paddy Barnes (Holy Family) beat Hugh Myres
56Kg: (Bantamweight) John Joe Nevin (Cavan) beat Michael Nevin (Portlaoise) 23-3
57Kg: (Featherweight) Michaela Walsh (Holy Family) beat Dervla Duffy
52Kg: (Flyweight) Michael Conlan (St John Bosco) beat Chris Phelan
81Kg: (Light-heavyweight) Joe Ward (Moate) beat Ken Egan (Neilstown) 29-10
60Kg: (Lightweight) Michael McDonagh (St Marys) beat David Oliver
Joyce (St Michaels Athy) 17-14
75Kg: (Middleweight) Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) beat Conor Coyle (St
69Kg: (Welterweight) Adam Nolan (Bray) beat John Joe Joyce (St
Michaels Athy) 17-15
64Kg: (Light-welterweight) Ross Hickey (Grangecon) beat Stephen
Coughlan (Bray) 21-5
91Kg: (Heavyweight) Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett) beat Christy
Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) KO3
91+Kg: (Super-heavyweight) Con Sheehan (Clonmel) beat Sean Turner
Boxer of the Championships: Joe Ward (Moate BC)