Crafty McCarty claims first Elite belt

Crafty McCarty claims first Elite belt
Barry McReynolds of Holy Trinity, Co Antrim, right, in action against Brandon McCarthy of St Michael's Athy, Co Kildare, in their 60kg bout during the IABA Irish National Elite Boxing Championships Finals at the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Kildare lightweight Brandon McCarthy claimed his 15th Irish title — and his first Elite belt — at the National Stadium last night.

The St Michael’s Athy stylist showed his strength and ring craft against Belfast’s two-time European medallist Barry McReynolds to win the 60kg title at his first Elite Championships.

“Absolutely amazing, I can’t get over it. What a night, what a way to win an Elite title. It still hasn’t set in yet,” said McCarthy.

Dublin’s Sean Mari and Dundalk Evelyn Igharo shaded the first two belts on offer on 3-2 splits decisions over Ricky Nesbitt and ex-World Junior champion Ciara Ginty Wicklow’s European Youth gold medallist Daina Moorchampion earned a unanimous decision over Shannon Sweeney to land her first gold medal at the first time of asking and Rathkeale BC pair Nell Fox and Jason Harty had their hands raised in victory.

The 81kg belt changed hands with Emmett Brennan edging defending titlist Thomas O’Toole on a 3-2 split.

“I won rounds two and three. It was a great fight, better than I thought it would be,” said the hard-punching Dublin Docklands BC light-heavy Brennan.

Two-time Commonwealth finalist Michaela Walsh stopped Emma Agnew in the second round and Ceire Smith won her 7th Elite belt at the expense of Niamh Earley.

Meanwhile, the Irish team for the European Olympic qualifiers in London next March is anything but cast in stone following the completion of the final domestic national tournament of 2019 last evening.

Seventy-seven Olympic places - 50 for men and 27 will be up for grabs in eight weights for men and five limits for women in London. There will be one final world qualifier in Paris next May.

World and European Elite champions Kellie Harrington and Kurt Walker, Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine and several Irish champions missed the Elites because of injury and illness.

Bernard Dunne, IABA High-Performance Director, pointed last night that five of the seven boxers that withdrew had major operations.

Dunne added that injuries are something they have to deal with and winning a national title is the best way to get yourself noticed.

Ireland is likely to take part in a multi-nations tournament in eastern European in late January before the team for London is confirmed.

Elsewhere, unbeaten Kildare feather Eric Donovan, who was working Jude Gallagher’s corner at the Elites last night, will be aiming to improve to 11 wins versus Jose Aguilar in Glasgow tonight.

Tyrone flyweight Gallagher beat Regan Buckley, a former pro boxer who has returned to the amateurs, to win the men’s flyweight belt in a contender for fight of the year at the Stadium.

Meanwhile, Floyd Mayweather Jr has said he is coming out of retirement.

The 42-year-old American has not fought since the 50th fight and 50th win of his career in August 2017.

That was over UFC star Conor McGregor, a fight found under boxing rules.

A rematch, possibly under UFC rules, has long been touted, as have traditional ring returns against a number of opponents.

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