*Note: Please do not share or send the following article to the five Irish boxers currently on the Gold Coast. The Irish boxing mantra has always been ‘one fight, one round, one minute, one punch at a time,’ and the article here is intended for boxing fans.
The draw was made yesterday in Australia for the Commonwealth Games.
The 12-fighter will be in action in Round of 32, Last 16, and quarter-final bouts over the coming days, however, it is natural to tentatively look forward to what could be down the line.
Below Irish-Boxing.com go through the each and every Irish fighter in the draw.
Men’s Flyweight – 52kg
Belfast’s Brendan Irvine faces Barbadian Jabali Breedy in the Last 16, one of the stronger fighters at the weight who can’t be underestimated. Should he defeat the Caribbean boxer, it will be an African next, with Botswanan Rajab Mahommed, a Commonwealth Youth bronze medalist, awaiting in the quarters. A semi-final would see him probably face Scottish star Reece McFadden, a bronze medalist last time, while Indian Gaurav Solanki – silver at the Commonwealth Youths and a recent runner-up at Strandja – seems the likeliest finalist from the other side of the draw.
Men’s Bantamweight – 56kg
Lisburn’s Kurt Walker faces Aussie teen Jack Bowen – a Commonwealth Youth gold medalist – in a dangerous Last 16 bout. If he can overcome the home favourite, Walker will face Lesotho’s Moroke Mokhotho or Mauritian Jean Jordy Vadamootoo for bronze. The semis then would, most likely, pit Walker versus Canadian teen Eric Basran or Ugandan Bashir Nasir – whom Mick Conlan defeated in the quarter-finals of the 2014 Games. Looking at the other side of the draw, reigning European champion Peter McGrail looks a hot favourite to reach the final.
Men’s Lightweight – 60kg
Belfast stylist James McGivern is dead-set on taking gold and will begin in the quarters against either Kiribati’s Tevii Steven or Zambian Emmanuel Ngoma. His bronze medal fight would then come versus Mauritian Jean John Colin or Tongan Tuihalangingie Vea. The real tough fights will come in the semis where he would face either European bronze medalist Calum French from England or Indian Manish Kaushik – who dethroned double Olympian Shiva Thapa in the Indian championships. Talented Welsh fighter Michael McDonagh looks to be the big threat on the other side of the draw.
Men’s Light Welterweight – 64kg
Men’s Team Captain Sean McComb will likely face a huge test in his opening Last 16 bout. The Belfast southpaw is set to face Luke McCormack in a repeat of their European quarter-final last year which was controversially edged by the Englishman. Should he get to the quarter-final stage here, McComb should end up facing Aussie Liam Wilson while Namibian Jonas Junias, an Olympian and silver medalist last time out, could await in the semis. The other side of the draw looks less cut-throat, with Canadian Thomas Blumenfeld, who won Best Boxer at the lest Celtic Box Cup, perhaps being the front-runner.
Men’s Welterweight – 69kg
Belfast’s Aidan Walsh is into the Last 16 on a bye and faces Pakistani Gul Zaib or Guernsey’s William Le Poullain – who beat Dubliner Peter Carr last year – before most likely boxing experienced New Zealander Leroy Hindley for a medal. Scot Stephen Newns looks to have a clear path to the semi, while English star Pat McCormack is sure to make the final from the other side of the draw.
Men’s Middleweight – 75kg
Ballymena veteran Steven Donnelly is in against Welsh youngster Kyran Jones in the Round of 32 and would go on to face Gibrilla Kamara of Sierra Leone in the Last 16 and a Samoan, Lesothan, or Anguillan for a bronze medal. In the semis then it would be Aussie Campbell Somerville, most likely, while Benjamin Whittaker is another English star sure to make the final.
Men’s Heavyweight – 91kg
Big Dee Sullivan got a bye to the quarters – but the Belfast man has been given a tough draw versus Aussia Jason Whateley, a two-time Oceania silver medalist. If he can overcome the home favourite, Sullivan would most likely face Indian World Youth bronze medalist Naman Tanwar in the semis. The other side of the draw then looks to be a shoot-out between England’s Cheavon Clarke and Kiwi star David Nyika – gold medalist at 81kg last time out.
Men’s Super Heavyweight – 91+kg
Belfast’s Stephen McMonagle is straight into the quarters and has a tough fight either way against either Kiwi Patrick Mailata or Scot Mitchell Barton. The semis would then see him probably up against big-hitting Englishman Frazer Clarke. Cameroonian banger Arsene Fokou Fosso – a recent World bronze medalist – looks likeliest to be the man who emerges from the other half of the draw.
Women’s Light Flyweight – 48kg
Wee Kristina O’Hara is one fighter to benefit from the addition of the littlest weight class and she fights Welshwoman Lynsey Holdaway in the quarter-finals. Lethabo Modukanele of Botswana or New Zealander Tasmyn Benny are the two potential semi-final opponents for the Belfast boxer. Boxing legend Mary Kom is the big name on the other side of the draw, with the Indian competing in her first Commonwealth Games.
Women’s Flyweight – 51kg
Belfast’s Carl McNaul is straight in at the quarter-final stage and faces Nigerian Ayisat Oriyomi. England’s Lisa Whiteside and Indian Pinki Rani, two elite fighters, are in the corresponding Last 8 bout. Aussie Taylah Robertson, who already has bronze guaranteed, looks likely to make the final from the other side of the draw.
Women’s Featherweight – 57kg
Silver medalist at flyweight last time out, Michaela Walsh is back for gold. The Belfast woman topped the bantamweight podium at the EUs last year and will look to bag another medal here versus Botswanan Keamogetse. Kiwi Alexis Pritchard will likely await in the semis before a final with either Canadian star Sabrina Aubin-Boucher or Aussie home favourite Skye Nicolson who continues to move down through the weights.
Women’s Lightweight – 60kg
Belfast’s Alanna Nihell is another going for successive medals. The Women’s Team Captain will most likely face EU bronze medalist Paige Murney from Englan – whom she has beaten before. An even bigger test would await in the semis, most likely Panamerican Games gold medalist Caroline Veyre of Canada. Silver medalist last time – and a ten-time major medalist overall including World Championships gold – Indian veteran Sarita Devi is one of the leading names on the other side of the draw alongside Aussie Anja Stridsman who has hit the headlines for qualifying without, effectively, an ACL muscle.