Boxing: Egan bidding to make history with perfect 10
JIM O'SULLIVAN is keeping his fingers crossed that the final bell will toll on his unique status as the only Irish boxer to win 10 Irish senior titles at the Elite National Senior Men's Championships, which begin at the National Stadium this evening.
O'Sullivan, who missed the 1983 finals because of injury, claimed 10 Irish senior belts at light middle, light heavy and heavyweight between 1980 and 1990 boxing out of the St Patrick's club in Enniscorthy.
However, that record is now under threat from Olympic silver medalist Ken Egan, who became the first Irish boxer in the 99-year history of the IABA to win nine senior titles in a row when he beat Belfast's Tommy McCarthy in the 2009 light heavyweight final.
Egan, World Champion Katie Taylor, World and European Youth Champions Ray Moylette and Jason Quigley, John Joe Joyce, Darren O'Neill and Con Sheehan will be just some of the stars in action at the 2010 deciders.
O'Sullivan believes that Ulster Senior champion McCarthy, who boxes out of the Oliver Plunkett club in Belfast, could ask a few questions of the Dublin southpaw this season.
He said: "I'll be wishing Ken the best of luck again at the Senior Championships. I'd love to see him do it as I like to see progress being made and it would be fantastic to see someone else win 10 titles.
"Back in 1989 I was going to hang up the gloves after winning nine titles but I said I'd go for the 10 and I got there. Ken has the chance now and the best of luck to him as he puts an awful lot into the sport. Tommy McCarthy is a very talented young boxer and could have a lot to say about that of course.
"That's what you want to see, talent coming through all the time and the youngsters challenging the more established boxers."
The 2010 Irish Elite Senior Championships begin this evening and conclude on the weekend of March 5/6. Two world champions, Taylor and Moylette, and European Youth champion Quigley, will also be competing.
Olympic and World Senior bronze medalists Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin, who claimed a bronze medal at the AIBA World Championships in Milan last year, will also be in the ring at the home of Irish boxing.
Twenty-year-old Nevin has set himself an ambitious plan for 2010. He's aiming to win his third bantamweight title in a row at the Seniors and then become the first Irish man this century to claim at gold medal at the European Senior Championships.