Galway’s Gabriel Dossen was one of the big surprises of the U18 National Championships in Dublin this weekend. In less than 24 hours the Olympic BC light welterweight upset the two favourites to take home top prize at the National Stadium.
Dossen, who will still be an U18 again next year, defeated reigning champion and European Junior gold medalist Jason Harty in the semi finals before yesterday overcoming Monaghan star Aaron McKenna in a close and exciting clash of styles, with the Tribesman’s reach and counter-punching prevailing against the relentless McKenna.
However merely saying a clash of styles doesn’t fully tell the story of an engrossing final where Dossen showed incredible guts and fortitude to pull out the win against a top opponent.
The Connacht slickster told Irish-Boxing.com afterwards that “I’m delighted, it’s unbelievable!”
“It’s a really great achievement, I had lost five all-Ireland finals, so this will be my first time on the Ireland team.”
“I went in there and we had a set gameplan, to box off my reach and pick him off – but that was heart.”
‘Heart’ is definitely an apt description. In the third round Dossen seemed exhausted against a fighter who had spent the Summer training in California for a professional debut, but the recent Youth 2 champion managed to summon shots from somewhere to keep McKenna off and grab the win.
Dossen explained that “I was really tired in the third round, it was all heart then.”
“I heard Mike [Mongan, coach at Olympic BC] roaring out ‘dig deep, up the tempo’ and I just thought of all the hard work I put in over the year.”
“I didn’t want to see my opponent have his hand put up at the end of the fight, so I just kept going.”
Two Irish titles in the space of a few months and gold at the prestigious Haringey Box Cup, Dossen has been on a brilliant run of form and is now in line for a spot on the Irish squad for the World Youth Championships in Russia this November. The Galway teen is excited about the challenge and promises that “I’ll try my best [at the World Youths], out there is a different level, but I’m up for it.”
“I’m boxing great, I’m undefeated since last May.”