“I did it!” – Caoimhin Agyarko Hynes caps roller coaster year with Elite Senior title


“I’ve had a roller coaster haven’t I?” jokes Caoimhin Agyarko Hynes.

It’s both the understatement of the year and a massive cliché, but a roller coaster it certainly has been.

Last April, Hynes was the victim of a vicious knife attack in his native Belfast – miraculously avoiding death and amazingly returning to the ring shortly after.

The obvious movie script ending though was scuppered when the Holy Trinity middleweight was beaten by Steven Donnelly and had his Commonwealth Games dream extinguished.

Suddenly out of nowhere, however, Hynes ended up in the National Elite Senior Championships and, on Saturday night, was crowned light heavyweight champion.

Looking back on a topsy-turvy past year, Hynes told Irish-Boxing.com that “I won the Montana Belts and then a week later I got stabbed, an inch from dying. Two months off then I was back in the ring, won a tournament out in Barcelona but my dreams were shattered by getting beaten in the qualifiers for the Commonwealth Games.”

“From there I was turning pro, everything was in the air, but I did it! I entered the Seniors for one last time.”

“I wasn’t entering, I was told in the club on the Friday night. So, on one day’s training, Mickey [Hawkins, coach] told me he wanted me to enter. I debated him, I didn’t want to because I wasn’t at my fight weight but he said ‘let’s give it one last go before we do anything’.”

“I never back down from a challenge, so I entered.”

It’s a near-unbelievable tale, a newspaper writer’s dream, but Hynes is more than just a comeback kid.

Highly-rated by those in the know in Belfast since his early teens, the 20-year-old has big goals and explained how “I don’t want to be remembered as the boxer who got stabbed, I want to be remembered as Caoimhin Hynes, the great boxer. But it’s going to come with me, it’s part of me.”

The final itself was an exciting affair, with Hynes trading bombs with Offaly fighter Brian Kennedy.

A toe-to-toe scrap, it was the sort of contest relished by Hynes who exclaimed “I’m delighted, over the moon”

“He [Kennedy] was a great opponent. It was tough. He’s big and he came forward which surprised me. A lot of people told me he would just move and move and move.”

“That slip right hand, I’ve knocked so many people out with it, but he took it all night. Fair play to him, he has a good chin, he took big shots and was then right back in my face for the whole three rounds.”

Hynes has attracted attention from promoters for a long time now and a move to the pros had seemed likely following his Commonwealth Games disappointment.

With a Senior title in the bad – is it motivation to continue in the vest? or is it more a case of adding value to his inevitable pro move as well as a perfect way to say goodbye to the amateurs?

“I don’t know, it’s a tough one for me,” admits Hynes.

“I’m 21, I’ve just won a National Elite title at a weight I don’t box at and I’ve no doubt I’d beat the guys at middleweight, I’d be too strong for them.”

“I honestly don’t know where I’ll go from here. I’ll take some time off, sit down with my coaches, have a chat, and we’ll see.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: [email protected]