Thursday 19 October 2017

Boxing: Egan weighs up his qualifying options

Bernard O'Neill

THE scales at the National Stadium in Dublin will tell its own tale next Wednesday morning when Ken Egan weighs up his options ahead of the four-day Unseeded Open Elite Competition.

The Irish Amateur Boxing Association are using the Open to help with their selection process for the 2011 AIBA World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan in September/October.

Egan says he's undecided whether he'll stay at light-heavyweight (81Kg) or move up to heavyweight (91Kg) for the Open, which begins next Wednesday night at the Stadium.

If Egan, who lost his Irish light- heavyweight title to Joe Ward in February, does move up a weight then he will be narrowing his window of opportunity for Olympic qualification.

Boxers that finish in the top 10 in eight of the weight categories from light-flyweight to light-heavyweight in Baku will qualify for the London Games.

But heavyweights and super-heavyweights must finish in a top-six position to book their tickets for the 30th Olympiad.

Fighters reaching the quarter-finals from light-fly to to light-heavy in Baku will qualify automatically for London.

A last-16 finish could also suffice -- provided you were beaten by the eventual gold or silver-medalist.

Likewise in the heavyweight and super-heavyweight class, except in a top-six format.

Moving up a click could also see Egan come up against Irish heavyweight champ Con Sheehan from Tipperary. Sheehan claimed gold at the 2009 European Union Championships.

"I'm in two minds about the weight category," said the 2008 Olympic silver medallist.

"We'll know next Wednesday morning when I weigh-in at the National Stadium.

"I'm in top shape physically and mentally.

"I got 16 rounds of sparring under my belt in Sunderland last weekend and I'm flying it.

"My objective is the World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Baku.

"All my focus and hard work is on that now -- that's what it is all about."

The Irish squad for Baku will go into an eight-day training camp in Assisi, Italy with the host nation, Azerbaijan and the Ukraine on August 19.

Meanwhile, following the Baku World Championships and Olympic qualifiers, there will be one final Olympic qualifier for European boxers at a venue to be decided next April.

Katie Taylor will get one opportunity to qualify for the London Olympics at the 2012 Women's AIBA World Championships in China.

Irish Independent

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