IABA confident of hosting worlds

IRISH boxing chief Dominic O’Rourke is confident the Irish Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) will be given the opportunity to host the AIBA 2011 World Championships in Dublin.

Ireland and Korea are the only two countries left (from five bids) in the running to hold the tournament, which will act as one of the qualifiers for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

World amateur boxing chiefs AIBA are expected to make an announcement on the winning bid on February 16 next.

The IABA celebrate their centenary year in 2011, and IABA President O’Rourke is confident they will receive the ideal birthday present.

He said: “We have made a submission to the AIBA and we expect that there will be announcement made on February 16th.

“It would be a fantastic way to celebrate our centenary year if we were chosen to host this tournament.

“I would be quietly confident that with the help of the Irish government and the Irish Sports Council we can host the World Championships. We hosted the European Union Championships in 2007 and that was a fantastic success.”

Meanwhile Irish head coach Billy Walsh reckons next month’s Elite Irish Senior Championships could be one of the most competitive tournaments seen in decades.

Olympic medallists Ken Egan and Paddy Barnes, World Youth Champion Ray Moylette, European bronze medallists Eamon O’Kane, Ross Hickey and John Joe Joyce, are amongst the fighters competing.

Roy Sheahan, one of Europe’s top welterweights will also be between the ropes and he could come up against Barry McGuigan’s son Shane, the Ulster and Irish U21 champion.

Sheahan, who will be targeting his fourth Irish senior title on the trot at welterweight, agonisingly broke his left hand in sparring before last February’s Olympic qualifiers in Italy but is now very much back in the frame.

And the quality doesn’t stop there as Jamie Kavanagh, a silver medal winner at the World Youth Championships and David Joe Joyce and Tommy McCarthy, who won bronze at the same tournament, are also entering.

McCarthy, from the Oliver Plunkett club in Belfast, is also the reigning Ulster champion, and at 18 is seen as the person to challenge Ken Egan’s dominance of the light heavyweight section.

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