Boxing: Egan ready for Hogan clash as record bid looms large
KEN EGAN has insisted that matching Irish boxing legends Mick Dowling's and Jim O'Sullivan's records is the last thing on his mind at the Elite National Men's Senior Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin.
Egan, whose brother John won in the Novice Championships at the Stadium yesterday, edged to within two bouts of becoming the first boxer to win 10 Irish senior titles in a row after he stopped Albania-born Dublin cabbie Gisha Gezim in the third round on Saturday night.
Gezim, who says he worked as a presidential bodyguard in Albania before he moved to Ireland eight years ago, was 18-4 down and the battle of the southpaws was stopped after he took a third standing count 30 seconds from the final bell.
Egan, who had Gerry Fleming and Hughie Smith in his corner, now meets Denis Hogan in Friday's light heavyweight semi-final, in a repeat of the 2009 semi-final which the Neilstown clubman won 16-3.
Speaking after his win, Egan praised Gezim and insisted that he's not thinking about winning 10 in a row or matching Dowling's run of eight wins (at bantam) on the trot in the same weight division.
However, if Egan, officially ranked fourth in the world, goes all the way, then not only will he match Dowling's sequence but he'll also match O'Sullivan's record of 10 (non consecutive) title wins between 1980 and 1990.
"Fair play to Gisha. He kept plugging away and he caught me with a few left hooks in the final round," said Egan. "Overall, I was pleased with my performance on the night, but I was unhappy with myself for standing around a bit too much.
"I was only warming up on Saturday. I'm in a lot better shape for these championships than I was in for the World Championships in Milan last year. Last year there was a lot of pressure on me to become the first to do nine in a row. This time out I'm not thinking about records. This year my ambition is to bring another title back to the Neilstown club, that's all."
Meanwhile, Oliver Plunkett Belfast ace Tommy McCarthy, who was beaten by Egan in the 2009 final, cruised into the last four after stopping Richard Beale in the second round. EU and Irish middleweight and heavyweight champions Darren O'Neill and Con Sheehan also won.
O'Neill, from the Paulstown club in Kilkenny, was 19-0 up when his fight with Sean Shevlin was stopped in the second. Clonmel clubman Sheehan beat John Sweeney 21-5 and European Youth champ Jason Quigley, in his senior debut, chalked up a 7-1 quarter-final win over Dubliner Luke Keeler.
Quigley, from the Finn Valley club in Donegal, will trade leather with European Senior Championships bronze medalist Eamon O'Kane in next weekend's middleweight semi-final.
In Saturday's quarter-finals, EU champ David Oliver Joyce, defending lightweight champ Eric Donovan and Beijing Olympian and European bronze medalist John Joe Joyce all advanced.
Defending 64kg champ Phil Sutcliffe beat Niall Murray by three points in the bout of the championships so far. Defending welterweight champ Willie McLaughlin also emerged victorious.
Katie Taylor received a walkover as no one entered her weight division, while Paddy Barnes and Jimmy Moore received byes straight into the 48kg final, while John Joe Nevin received a bye into the bantamweight final.
The Elite Men's and inaugural Women's Senior Championships, which are being run in conjunction with the Novice Championships, resume next Friday and Saturday. The finals will be held on the weekend of March 5/6.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Glen Holmes and Chris Blaney had to settle for silver yesterday after they both lost their finals at the Brandenburg Cup in Frankfurt. Holmes, from the Corinthians club in Dublin, lost 10-5 to Kazak bantamweight Russian Madiyev while Navan welterweight Blaney lost 6-1 to Denis Radovan of Germany in the 69kg final.
World junior champ Joe Ward and Stephen Tracey will both be bringing home bronze from the 18-nation tournament following narrow semi-final losses to Germany's Islam Sulimanov and Estonia's Nikolai Chaskin respectively.