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Barnes claims seventh title

OLYMPIANS Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan hammered out a Belfast double at the Elite Championships finals at Dublin's National Stadium last night.

Barnes beat Hughie Myers, the defending light-fly champion, in a repeat of the 2012 final which he also won, on a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27) in a slug fest.

And Conlan, who claimed the flyweight crown for the last three years prior to the 2014 edition of the tournament, secured his first bantamweight belt. The AIBA World No 2 out-gunned 2010 European Championships bronze medallist Tyrone McCullough, the 2010 Elite featherweight champion.

Conlan was clipped near the end for showboating, a punch he acknowledged, but the final decision – 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 – spoke for itself.

Last night's win secured Barnes' seventh title since 2007, but the Ulster dynamo admitted that Myers had asked some questions.

He said: "He was very fit, good to see, he pushed me right to the last. It was a good fight, I'm just so glad to have come out the right side of it.

"Seven titles? Yeah, I'll keep going, see what happens. Kenny (Egan) won ten in a row so I can't match that."

Conlan, meantime, has one eye on Commonwealth gold for Northern Ireland in Glasgow this summer.

"I knew it was going to be a cagey fight, I was prepared for anything – thank God I came out the winner. I knew it was going to be close no matter what, Tyrone is a very, very good boxer, a European bronze medallist," he said.

"I just had to go out there and execute a game plan which I didn't even have planned in my head until I got in the ring – once I got in there it just fell into place.

"Four in a row, Damien Kelly did it from flyweight to bantam also; it's a good achievement for me personally. Hopefully, I can keep it going this year, win a Commonwealth gold medal."

EXPLOSIVE

A fired-up David Oliver Joyce dethroned defending champion Sean McComb on a split decision (28-29, 28-29, 30-27) in an explosive lightweight duel.

And defending champion Adam Nolan lost his bid for his fourth welterweight title in a row after being shaded on a split decision by Ballymena's Stephen Donnelly.

The third split decision of the evening went to new middleweight champion Michael O'Reilly at the expense of Darren O'Neill, who was targeting his fifth Irish crown.

And Joe Ward found the target with some big and varied shots en route to victory over the durable Matthew Tinker to seal his fourth successive title in the light-heavy class.

The women's Elite finals will be decided tonight at the National Stadium. Olympic champion Katie Taylor has received a walkover.


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