BOXING: Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce flew out to the USA last night to join his Irish team-mate Ken Egan's Miami side in the World Series of Boxing (WSB).
The Irish senior champion has signed a one-year contract with the Florida side in the Americas WSB group and says he can't wait to get in the ring. That chance could arrive as early as next Thursday night as Miami are slated to meet Los Angeles away in the four-team group.
Egan will line out against LA, and Joyce could be selected by Miami's Irish-American coach Pat Burns. Joyce is the second Irish boxer to be head-hunted by the WSB sides in the last five days -- Belfast middleweight Eamon O'Kane teamed up with Milan in the European group last Friday.
O'Kane is in line to be selected for the Italian side when they meet John Joe Nevin's Paris United, who hammered Kremlin Bears (Moscow) 4-1 at the weekend, next weekend.
Meanwhile, boxing legend Jim McCourt reckons that Ireland's fighters can make a big impression at the 2012 Olympics.
McCourt, a bronze medal winner at the 1964 Olympics and a 1966 Commonwealth champion, was inducted into boxing's Hall of Fame at the Irish Amateur Boxing Association's annual awards night along with Sean Crowley, and said: "I think that our boxers have a great chance at the London Olympics.
"They've been performing magnificently over the last few years and their confidence is high."
Katie Taylor and the European Senior Championships medal-winning quintet of Paddy Barnes, Darren O'Neill, Eric Donovan, Tyrone McCullagh and Egan shared the elite achievement award as the IABA celebrated another outstanding year. Taylor and Barnes also shared the best overall boxer award.