Egan ‘back in business’ as Cruise outclassed

KENNETH EGAN predicted last night that he will become the first Irishman since legendary thrower, Dr to win two Olympic medals.

The Beijing silver medallist was back in business at the National Stadium last night where he outpointed and outclassed Crumlin light middleweight Darren Cruise, who retired at the start of round three when Egan, who led 16-2 at the end of the second, piled on the agony.

“I’m back in business,” Egan declared. “I’m back in the mode. Training is going well and I aim to become the next Irish boxer to win two gold medals.”

In the meantime he is assured of a fifth world championship appearance as a result of last night’s victory – the Open tournament was staged to help with the team selection for Milan in September.

“This tournament was perfect for me,” he said. “The first two opponents were the most difficult and you have to hand it to Darren Cruise, he was game tonight and he took some big body shots.

“At the end of the day you can only beat whoever is put before you so I am happy with that. We have a very good training camp coming up here next week and then the round robin tournament at the end of that so we should be in pretty good shape for Milan.”

Philip Sutcliffe (Crumlin) took another important step up the ladder to success when he beat Olympian John Joe Joyce (St Michael’s, Athy) 21-7 in an enthralling light welterweight final as the Open Tournament to help select the team for the world championships came to a conclusion at the National Stadium last night.

This was a career best performance by far from the son of the two-time European bronze medallist of the same name and Philip the dad predicted that his son would reach greater heights.

That was after he watched from the wings as his son delivered the performance of his life, fashioned around a big right hand to the head and body which he delivered with power and perfection. Both corner men had been banished from the ringside by referee Sadie Duffy in the second round.

In fairness to Joyce, a bronze medallist at last year’s European championships, the computer did not reflect the totality of his effort. He got through with a succession of left jabs that went unrecorded and the majority of his scores came from a right hand to the head although his jabs rocked Sutcliffe’s head back.

But there was always going to be just one winner as Sutcliffe backed his man on to the ropes and pounded him with double hooks to the head and body. When they met in the senior championships Sutcliffe won the fight in the first round and although he caught Joyce with a vicious right hand midway through the second round the contest was always going to go the distance.

Sutcliffe won the first round 5-3, the second 5-1 and he went on the third 11-2 although Joyce must be wondering what he would have to do to catch the judges’ attention.

Con Sheehan (Clonmel) enhanced his reputation with a very efficient 11-4 victory over the experienced Holy Trinity heavyweight, Conal Carmichael, in a final that had a bit of everything – ruggedness, big punches and the speed and class of the 20 year old Clonmel man who dominated the contest throughout.

Conor Ahern reclaimed his place at the top of the flyweight division with an emphatic 12-4 victory over young Ruairi Dalton (Holy Trinity).

The last time the pair touched gloves was in the 2008 national championships when Dalton went seven points up in the first round. That left Ahern with something of a mountain to climb but he came bouncing back to stop Dalton who had run out of steam.

Last night there was never going to be any doubt about the decision as Ahern jabbed his way to a 5-0 lead at the end of the first round and while they shared the second round 2-2 the last three minutes were dominated by the former champion who won the round 5-2 to claim his place on the team for the world championships.

The Baldoyle flyweight has been to two other global championships – China and Chicago – but he wanted this more than anything else after losing his senior title this year.

“I went to a training camp in Spain and won two fights there so I was in good form coming into the tournament,” he said.

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