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Dean burned after last-minute call-up

BOXING: It's been an eventful couple of weeks for welterweight Dean Byrne.

Two weeks ago he extended his unbeaten record to 15 (six KO) when he won an eight-round bout against Michael Frontin in York Hall, Bethnal Green

Currently based in London, the well-travelled Crumlin fighter responded to a call to step into the breach as a last-minute replacement when Frankie "Funtime" Gavin walked out ahead of his Inter-Continental Welterweight title against Frenchman Frank Haroche Horta.

"This is a fantastic opportunity," declared Dean. "I'm in top shape as I only boxed last week. I want to build my fan base here as I progress towards a world title."

Unfortunately things didn't go as hoped for Dean, who was outboxed throughout until his corner waved him ashore in the eighth citing a damaged hand. Byrne insists a world title remains his goal. Relieved promoter Frank Warren owes 27-year-old Dean a favour for helping him rescue the event in Manchester.

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With three Irish boxers already qualified for next year's Olympic Games, further proof of Ireland's strength on the world amateur stage is contained in the latest AIBA World Rankings which were released earlier this week. A remarkable nine Irish boxers are ranked in the Top 20.

Katie Taylor continues to be ranked at No 1.

Darren O'Neill (middleweight 3), Michael Conlon (flyweight 14) and John Joe Nevin (bantamweight 4) will represent Ireland in London next summer.

Among our boxers in the Top 20 rankings who are hoping to qualify for London are Joe Ward, Paddy Barnes, Ray Moylette, Ryan Burnett and Eric Donovan.

All are focussed on the last remaining Olympic qualification tournament in Istanbul in April.

Katie Taylor and the Irish women's team will have to wait until the 2012 AIBA Women's World Championships in China next May to secure qualification.

Having moved up a weight division to heavyweight, Ireland's silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics Kenny Egan is currently 28 in the world rankings.

The boxer who defeated Kenny in the recent World Championships, Cuban Jose Larduet, achieved Olympic qualification at the tournament.

Meanwhile, Kenny will launch his autobiography, Kenny Egan My Story, on Monday November 14 at a glitzy bash at Krystle Nightclub in Harcourt Street.


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