BOXING: Hickey ready for semi-final Date
REIGNING light-welterweight champion Ross Hickey will be taking nothing for granted against newcomer Rohan Date in their semi-final of the Elite Championships at the National Stadium on Friday.
Hickey is seeking his third consecutive 64kg crown this year and has ruled out complacency against the young Waterford challenger.
“Rohan had a good win last weekend and he performed well in the European U/23 Championships. He’s obviously a talented boxer and I can’t take anything for granted, not that I was ever going to take anything for granted anyway, said Hickey, who received a bye into the last-four,” the former European bronze medallist, who received a bye to Friday’s semi-final, said.
“I didn’t mind receiving a bye. I’ve got plenty of fights under my belt and plenty of good sparring in preparation anyway and I’m in great shape. I’m looking forward to Friday night. I’m going for my fourth title overall and hopefully it works out for me.”
Date, a 19 year old who boxes out of the St Paul’s BC, is competing in his first Elite Championships this year.
The Waterford prospect represented Ireland at the inaugural European U/23 Championships in Kaliningrad, Russia last December and was very unlucky to be edged out (10-9) by Ukrainian Oleg Neklyudov, a double World Youth and Junior champion.
He qualified for Friday’s semi-final with a third round KO of Niall Murray.
Neill Gough and David Ryan were working Date’s corner against Murray last weekend and Gough acknowledged that it will be a tough task against the title holder.
“Ross is the defending champion and he’s obviously a formidable boxer. Rohan had a good win last weekend and that has boosted his confidence,” he said.
“He’ll be giving it his best shot against Ross on Friday night. This is his first Senior Championships and he’s gaining valuable experience.”