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Boxing: Roohan fancies chances against Egan

SLIGO light-heavyweight Thomas Roohan is confident he can deny Ken Egan an 11th straight title at the Elite Irish Senior Championships tonight.

Roohan takes on Olympic silver medallist Egan in the 81kg semi-final at the National Stadium in Dublin.

Defending champions Gary Molloy, John Joe Nevin, Eric Donovan, John Joe Joyce, Darren O'Neill, Con Sheehan and Cathal McMonagle will also be in action.

Roohan, of Ballincarrow BC, beat Ballina's Brian Fitzpatrick 4-2 last Saturday's to set up his duel with Egan, who received a bye into the last four.

The 25-year-old, who has multiple Irish champions Stephen and Alan Reynolds working his corner, admits that his meeting with Egan will be the biggest bout of his career.

But Roohan reckons he'll be up for the test and insists that he's looking on the clash with the Dublin southpaw as just another bout.

"The proudest moment of my career was winning an Irish cap against England last year, but this is another step up altogether. It's definitely the biggest fight of my career," he said.

"I have total respect for what Ken has achieved but -- and don't get me wrong -- that respect will be left outside the ring. I feel that I will be right in there with a fighting chance. In my eyes, it's just another bout.

"He's won 10 titles already -- maybe it's time for him to give someone else a chance," added Roohan, tongue in cheek. "I'm looking forward to getting into the ring against one of the best in the world."

Egan says he's feeling sharp and focused as he seeks to extend his dominance in the 81kg class.

The Dubliner gave a remarkable interview on TV recently, where he spoke about his battle with alcohol. And the three-time European Union champion, who claimed his first two Irish titles at middleweight, said that he's happy with the positive response he has since received from doing it.

"I was just being honest with myself in that interview, telling it like it is," said Egan. "I'm glad I did it and overall there was a positive response to it. I'm just keeping the head down now and staying focused for Friday.

"I won't be taking be taking anything for granted. I'm just two fights away from winning my 11th title. I think that a final between myself and Joe Ward would makes a great final."

The other semi-final will be between Ward and either Davey Joe Joyce or Sean Allen tomorrow night.

Joyce and Allen clashed in Saturday's quarter-finals, but a malfunction in the computer scoring system saw the bout postponed at the end of the second round. They meet again tonight, with the winner facing World Youth champion Ward tomorrow.

Roohan's clubmate Chris Devaney will also be in action tonight against super-heavyweight champion McMonagle.

The women's semi-finals will also be decided tonight, with the finals on tomorrow. A second session of male semis will be held tomorrow. The finals will be held next Friday.

Irish Independent