The Irish Amateur Boxing Association today named its team to compete at the European Championships in Ankara, Turkey, which begin on June 16. Today’s Press Conference at the National Stadium in Dublin was held in association with the Irish Sports Council.
Ireland will send a competitor in each weight division, reduced in number in 2011 from 11 to 10. They team will be lead by Paddy Barnes (49 kg), European Gold medalist in Moscow in 2010 and Darren O’Neill (75 kg), European Silver in Moscow. Barnes will be seeking to become the second Irish boxer besides Katie Taylor to win back-to-back European titles.
The team also includes John Joe Nevin (56 kg), World Medalist from Milan in 2009. However the highly competitive nature of Irish senior boxing sees experienced championship performers missing out on selection to young guns such as Joe Ward (81 kg), Michael McDonagh (60 kg) and Michael Conlon (52 kg).
“The 2011 European Championships will undoubtedly be another big challenge for us.”, said team manager Des Donnelly, “however, our preparation has been excellent and we have plenty of experience inside and outside the ring to ensure all the team perform to their potential”.
“The European Championships will be very competitive and if we don’t bring our best performance to the table them someone else will take our place, it’s as simple as that really. We won five medals at this level the last time, an incredible achievement by any standard”, said head coach Billy Walsh.
The Irish squad claimed one gold, one silver and three bronze medals at the 2010 European Championships at the Ice Palace in Moscow, a haul that saw Ireland finish in second place in the medals table behind powerhouses Russia. Paddy Barnes (gold), Darren O’Neill (silver), Ken Egan (bronze), Tyrone McCullagh (bronze) and Eric Donovan (bronze) finished in podium positions at the 2010 European Championships.
There will be another major championships in 2011 when the AIBA World Senior Championships take place in Baku, Azerbaijanin from September 22. This event will also act as a qualifier for the 2012 London Olympics.
Irish 2011 European Elite Championships Squad
49Kg: Paddy Barnes (Holy Family)
52Kg: Michael Conlon (St John Bosco)
56Kg: John Joe Nevin (Cavan)
60Kg Michael McDonagh (St Mary’s)
64Kg: Ray Moylette (St Anne’s)
69Kg: Willie McLaughlin (Illies GG)
75Kg: Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
81Kg: Joe Ward (Moate)
91Kg: Con Sheehan (Clonmel)
91+Kg: Cathal McMonagle (Holy Trinity)
Team Manager: Des Donnelly
Coaches: Billy Walsh and Zuar Antia
Saturday, June 11, Team departs from Dublin
Thursday, June 16, Draw
Friday June 17 Competition begins with prelims continuing on Sat and Sun
Monday June 20 Quarters
Tuesday June 21 Quarters
Wednesday June 22 Rest Day
Thursday June 23 Semis
Friday June 24 Finals
48Kg – Light-flyweight
Holy Family (Belfast)
Major Honours: 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. 2010 European champion.
2010 Commonwealth champion (with Northern Ireland). Current Irish Elite Champion
52Kg – Flyweight
Club:St John Bosco (Belfast)
Major honours: Current Irish Elite Champion.
2011 Elite Round Robin winner
John Joe Nevin
Club: Cavan BC
Major honours: 2009 European Union gold. 2009 AIBA World Senior Championships bronze.
2008 Irish Olympian. Current Irish Elite champion.
60Kg – Lightweight
Club: St Mary’s (Dublin)
Major honours: Current Irish Elite Champion. Elite Box-Off winner.
64Kg – light-welterweight
Club: St Anne’s (Westport)
Major honours: 2008 AIBA World Youth Champion (at lightweight). 2010 Irish Elite Champion
69Kg – Welterweight
Club: Illies Golden Gloves (Donegal)
Major honours: 2009 Elite Champion. 2009 AIBA World Senior Championships quarter-finalist
75Kg – Middleweight
Club: Paulstown BC (Kilkenny)
Major honours: 2010 European silver medalist. 2009 European Union champion.Current Irish Elite champion
81Kg – Light-heavyweight
Club:Moate BC (Westmeath)
Major honours: 2009 AIBA World Junior champion. 2010 AIBA World Youth champion.
Current Irish Elite champion
91Kg – Heavyweight
Club: Clonmel BC
Major honours: 2009 European Union champion: Current Irish Elite champion
91+Kg – Super-heavyweight
Club: Holy Trinity (Belfast)
Major honours: 2007 European Union silver medalist. Current Irish Elite champion