Friday 19 January 2018

Donoghue's last-gasp right hook lands gold

Willie Donoghue is Junior World Champion
Willie Donoghue is Junior World Champion

Bernard O'Neill

WILLIE DONOGHUE believes that it was his last-gasp right hook that did the business at the 57-nation AIBA World Junior Champ-ionships in the Ukraine.

Donoghue, who boxes out of the St Michael's Athy club in Kildare, beat Danny Gonzalez of the USA on a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 27-30) to claim light-flyweight gold in Kiev.

The Irish champion took the first round of the three-frame 48kg final, but the Californian, a US Golden Gloves champion, won the second to leave it all square.

The third stanza was also tight – until Donoghue detonated a big right over the top to rock the American seconds from the final bell.

Donoghue, who won four fights in Kiev, is now the first Irish boxer to claim gold at this level since Joe Ward in 2009, and the Irish champion was thrilled with his victory.

"It was a good punch alright. That was probably the one. There was just a few seconds to go and I got in the right and followed it up with a nice left," said the new World champion.

"He's a good fighter. I won the first round, but he came back strong in the second. The third was close also and I'm just delighted to have won the gold medal for Ireland.

"This means so much to me and my family and I would like to thank my coaches Billy McClean and Tom Hayes and Jim Walsh and my club for all their help."

"We're absolutely over the moon, added Irish team manager Jim Walsh.

"Willie has been magnificent out here all week as have the entire Irish squad."

IABA director of boxing development Dominic O'Rourke, who is one of Donoghue's coaches at the St Michael's club, hailed yesterday's victory.

"It's another proud day for Irish boxing and for the St Michael's Athy club. Willie was brilliant, absolutely brilliant in the Ukraine," he said.

Irish Independent

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