Box-off could hand Joyce Euro lifeline

DAVID OLIVER JOYCE and Carl Frampton could box-off for the featherweight spot on the Irish team for next month’s European Championships in Liverpool.

Illness caused Joyce, the current featherweight national champion, to withdraw from the finals of the senior open tournament on Friday night, presenting Frampton with a walk over.

It appears, however, that the Mullingar man who boxes out of the St Michael’s club in Athy has been thrown a lifeline.

“Both boxers have been advised to turn up for training at the High Performance Centre tomorrow morning,” Head Coach Billy Walsh said. “David Oliver will undergo a medical and if he passes that then we have suggested a box-off at the Central Council tournament in the National Stadium next Friday night.

“Of course both sides will have to agree and I would like to think they will. But everything depends on David Oliver passing the medical. He could not go to the European Championships if he failed the medical.”

Meanwhile, there was good news from Clonmel last evening after the national senior heavyweight champion, Con Sheehan, was cleared to go into training with the High Performance squad.

He damaged his hand during his emphatic 15-4 defeat of Patrick Corcoran from Galway in the finals at the National Stadium on Friday night.

“He said he felt a stab of pain go from his thumb right up to his elbow during the second round,” his coach, Martin Fennessy, said. “We had the doctor examine it after the fight and she was happy there was nothing broken and no damage done. We had it X-rayed as a precaution on Saturday morning and everything was clear so he was back in training on Sunday.”

It was good news for Billy Walsh who will begin work with the nine-man team for the European championships this morning. All weights will be represented with the exception of light-fly and super-heavy.

“I would like to have more time to work with them but that’s how it is,” Walsh said. “The majority of them will box at the Stadium on Friday night but it will not be the same pairings as at the finals last weekend. Unfortunately it appears Darren O’Neill will not have a fight before the championships as he does not have an opponent but he is in good shape again. “This is the start of the new cycle up to and including the 2012 Olympics so it is important to get it started. Obviously there will be changes in the squad between now and then.”

He will be keeping a close eye on the performances of the eight-man Irish team that has arrived in Guadalajara for the World Youth Championships.

The squad started training and sparring with teams from France, Russia and Uzbekistan yesterday.

“We sent them out 10 days ahead of the championships to get them acclimatised because they have to adjust to 35C heat and also to performing at altitude,” he said. “We’ve a strong team and the target is two medals. The 68-nation championships are set to get under way at the Lopez Mateos Gymnasium on October 25 and will run until November 1.

Irish team: 51Kg: R Dalton (St John’s, Belfast); 54Kg: T McCullagh (Illies GG, Donegal); 57Kg: T McKenna (Oliver Plunkett, Belfast); 60Kg: R Moylett (St Anne’s, Westport); 64Kg: J Kavanagh (Crumlin BC); 69Kg: D Joyce (St Michael’s, Athy); 75Kg: B Roe (Dublin Docklands); 81Kg: T McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett, Belfast). Team Manager: P Gallagher; Coaches: J Moore & J Payne; Strength & Conditioning: J Cleary; Physio: M Ryan; Referee/Judge: J Hernon.

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