Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine is one win away from retaining his Irish Elite flyweight belt after claiming victory over TJ Waite from what he described as a “proper fight” at Dublin’s National Stadium in Dublin last night.
The European Games finalist posted a unanimous decision over Waite, who be beat in the 2015 final, in an all Belfast flyweight semi-final at the home of Irish boxing.
The industrious Waite asked a few questions of the AIBA World No. 9 ranked light-fly, who has moved up a weight, but the defending champion, boxing fluently off the front and back foot, was full value for his victory.
“I’m very happy with the win, “ said Irvine. “You obviously had that wee bit of doubt in your head getting into the ring, especially with someone you fought last time because they know the way you fight.
“But the tactics and the game plan we worked on paid off. We didn’t do too much in that actual fight. Very cagey, it was. But this year it was a proper fight, two boxers going at it,” added Irvine who had Ralph McKay and Frankie McCourt working his corner.
Meanwhile, European Elite and European Games medallist Dean Walsh, who is aiming for his 4th successive belt, and Sean McComb and Kurt Walker, George Bates and Emma Agnew also had their hands raised in triumph.
Kristina O’Hara beat Carol Coughlan in the first Irish women’s Elite bout over three, three-minute rounds last evening.
In the women’s feather class, defending champion Dervla Duffy and Moira McElligott will meet in the 57kg final after 4-1 split and 5-0 unanimous decisions over Tiegan Russell and Amanda Coughlan.
A second session of semi-finals will be decided tonight at the Stadium to complete next Friday’s finals line up at IABA headquarters.
Shauna O’Keefe meets Amy Broadhurst in the women’s lightweight class. The winner will face World Elite finalist Kellie Harrington for the belt vacated by Katie Taylor.
Harrington, who is ranked No.2 in the World at light-welter, the weight she claimed World silver at, has dropped down to lightweight which is one of the three Olympic weights for women. The Dubliner received a bye into the 60kg final.
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