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Gardiner aims to confirm rankings in Keenan clash

 

Dean Gardiner Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Dean Gardiner Photo: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

Dean Gardiner believes that the dynamite is back in his gloves ahead of tonight's National Elite super-heavy rematch with Martin Keenan at Dublin's National Stadium.

Keenan, who boxes out of the Rathkeale BC in Limerick, is the only male defending champion remaining as he takes on the Clonmel BC man. The clash is a repeat of last May's box-off for a place on the Irish team for the Euros which Gardiner won. The Tipperary orthodox insists he's the top super-heavy in Ireland.

"I mightn't be the reigning champion but I'm the number one-ranked super-heavyweight in the country," insisted Gardiner who will be aiming for his third Elite belt.

Fittest "I'm the fittest and the strongest I've been in a long time. Last year I was 98kg for the World Championships. Now I'm a 104kg of solid muscle and I'm after giving three standing counts so far.

"I'm 30 next week, that's the prime age for super-heavyweights. That (Elite Championships) is more important than the Olympics now, it's a stepping stone to the Olympics."

Meanwhile, Dubliner Kellie Harrington meets Dundalk's Amy Broadhurst for the lightweight belt once held by Olympic and current WBA champion Katie Taylor.

Harrington is targeting her seventh Elite title, with Broadhurst, a three-time European Youth and Junior champion for Ireland, aiming for her first.

Irish Independent

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