IABA ready to make “hard decisions” over team selection for European Championships

The Irish team for the Men’s European Elite Senior Championships is still to be confirmed, and it will not necessarily be comprised of the ten reigning Irish senior champions.

The tournament, which acts as the sole qualifier for the World Championships in Germany in September, takes place in Ukraine between June 14th and June 25th.

Ten Irish champions were crowned at the Elite Senior Championships in Dublin back in February, however decisions are still to be made regarding which fighters will make the trip to Kharkiv.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) are committed to sending the best possible team next month, where the Top 8 all qualify for the Worlds, and are in the process of determining what this team will be.

The Elite Senior Championships will be factored into the decision-making process, as will the Dublin International Round Robin, performances in training camp, and the numerous multi-nations Ireland has been involved in recently. In addition to this Irish-Boxing.com are lead to believe that a number of box-offs will also be called.

New High Performance Director Bernard Dunne, who assumed his role last Monday, will be involved in the decision-making process, as confirmed by IABA President Pat Ryan – who told Irish-Boxing.com that “hard decisions will have to be made, and we are willing to make them.”

“People will be upset, but we are committed to sending the best team. Our goal is to ensure that the best possible team will be sent.”

“Obviously the Senior champions have to be given respect, but it is an ongoing process to decide the team, including the round robin and the multi-nations.”

“There were over twenty top fighters at the round robin, it’s a good headache to have.”

“The tournament is next month so obviously we would want the team to be ratified as soon as possible.”

Ryan would neither confirm or deny that box-offs will be called, however Irish-Boxing.com believe that there will be deciding bouts at welterweight and super heavyweight. These will be contested by Dean Walsh and Steven Donnelly at 69kg, and Martin Keenan and Dean Gardiner at +91kg.

The reigning Elite Senior champions are:
49kg: Blaine Dobbins (St Joseph’s Derry)
52kg: Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s Belfast)
56kg: Kurt Walker (Canal)
60kg: Pat Mongan (Olympic Galway)
64kg: Sean McComb (Holy Trinity Belfast)
69kg: Dean Walsh (St Ibar’s/St Joseph’s)
75kg: Emmet Brennan (Glasnevin)
81kg: Joe Ward (Moate)
91kg: Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
+91kg: Martin Keenan (Rathkeale)

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]