IT was all or nothing for Adam Nolan in last Friday’s National Elite 69kg final. Lose and hanging up the gloves was an option, win and those gloves will be used to try and win a place on the plane to Rio.
The Bray BC puncher admitted he considered calling it a day after decider defeat to Stephen Donnelly last year and doesn’t doubt retirement would have been one of a number of options if he had suffered a similar fate against John Joe Nevin in the Stadium last week.
30 seconds and three left hooks in and it was clear the Wexford man was on course for an impressive victory and the press would be asking ‘what’s next questions’ rather than reflecting on a brilliant career after the final bell rang.
Nolan produced one of the tournaments best performances and beat a fellow former Olympian in style to be crowned champion in one of the toughest weight division in the land.
After working hard to win back his title the 28 year old revealed a break is in order, but it is clear Nolan is Rio hopeful.
“I am not going to retire now. I am hoping to go to a qualifier this year, but for now it is take a week or 10 days off and enjoy this title win with my family,” said Nolan.
“You can’t make excuses for losing last year, I just didn’t perform, but there wasn’t a lot at stake. When you lose you use that as motivation to spur you on and there was an extra carrot there in terms of a qualifier. When you loose a Senior title you get doubts, but I worked hard came back and won the title.”
With Olympic qualifiers playing out this year there was an alluring carrot dangling ahead of both boxers in the final, but you get the feeling there was more to it than that for the London 2012 Olympian.
Losing the Irish title to fellow Olympic hopeful Donnelly last term hurt the Peter Taylor coached fighter and he was determined to win it back regardless of what comes after.
“I am absolutely delighted with the win. I lost that title last year to Stephen Donnelly, I took two or three months out and then I sat down with Billy and Zaur and I said I would give it one more lash. I am just over the moon now and delighted to win back that title. It has been a lot of hard work over the last few months and it has paid off,” he added before reflecting on possibly his best ever performance.
“I think i rattled John Joe early on and probably went in for the kill. If I showed a little more composure I could have given him a count. I tried to smoother him early on like I did in the final three years ago. He is a good lad he has won four Senior titles and went to Beijing, but myself, Darren my brother and Pete Taylor worked on a game plan all week and it worked.John Joe is class when you give him space so I kind of roughed him up a bit, which is not my style. I am good at throwing straight shots, but in the first two rounds I was throwing hooks and I couldn’t miss with any of them.”