Olympians do battle for welterweight title

The last time ex-Olympians met in an Irish elite welterweight final the winner went on to win an Olympic gold.

Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympians John Joe Joyce and Adam Nolan clash for the vacant welter belt at the National Elite Championships at Dublin’s National Stadium this evening.

In 1992, Michael Carruth beat current Irish head coach Billy Walsh – both men represented Ireland at the Seoul Olympics – in the welter final.

Later that year Carruth claimed an historic Olympic gold in Barcelona.

Joyce goes into the tonight’s decider having won four elite titles — one more than Nolan.

The three-rounder is a repeat of the February 2012 final, which Nolan, who qualified for the London 2012 in April of that year, won.

The Bray-based garda said: “It’s a must win fight for both of us, I have two good wins under my belt and John has two good wins. Hopefully, I can give a very good performance.

“We boxed a couple of times as young fellas. He beat me a couple of times. We didn’t meet then for maybe the bones of ten years until I won the 2012 final 17-15. There was hardly anything in it.

“I went on to qualify for the London Olympics after that, so it was a case of what might have been for John Joe. It was close three years ago and I’m expecting another close one Friday night.”

Meanwhile, Dean Walsh and Michael O’Reilly are the two defending champions in action tonight. The light-welter and middleweight belt holders meet 2011 European gold medallist Ray Moylette and Stephen Broadhurst respectively. London 2012 Olympian, Darren O’Neill, bids for his fifth elite belt in the heavyweight class against Ken Okungbowa.

The St Francis Boxing Club in Limerick have two male boxers through for the first time since 2005 when Jimmy Moore and current WBO World champion Andy Lee reached the business end of the tournament.

Myles Casey faces Evan Metcalfe this evening and Matthew Tinker is in against Roy Sheahan.


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