Monday 19 February 2018

Dunne keeps the focus on European battles

Dunne: “I think every individual boxer has the capability to qualify for the World Championships. We’re not bringing them just to get experience.” Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Dunne: “I think every individual boxer has the capability to qualify for the World Championships. We’re not bringing them just to get experience.” Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Bernard O’Neill

The bitter boardroom squabble that has engulfed Irish boxing is showing no signs of abating and could end up in front of the type of judges who don't usually sit at ringside scoring bouts.

But Bernard Dunne, stressing that his focus is solely on our boxers, believes that Ireland can impress at the 42nd European Elite Men's Championships in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

The Irish team flew out from Dublin Airport at 6am this morning for their final training camp in Kharkiv ahead of the June 16 bell for the sole qualifier for the World Championships in Hamburg, Germany, in August-September.

The projected entries indicate Ireland's boxers will have to win two fights to book tickets for Hamburg and three bouts to claim at least bronze. It's estimated 40 nations will compete.

Joe Ward will be aiming for his third European gold at light heavy and Irish captain Darren O'Neill is a former European silver medallist. Brendan Irvine and Sean McComb have also medalled at the European Games.

Team Ireland leave behind a virtual civil war in Irish boxing at boardroom level, but Dunne's focus is on what is happening between the ropes.

"The team is fully fit. They're looking forward to getting away so they can focus on the job at hand, which is to qualify for the World Championships and secure medals," said the High-Performance Director .

"I think every individual boxer has the capability to qualify for the World Championships. We're not bringing them just to get experience."

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