Monday 18 December 2017

Egan aims to prove heavyweight mettle


Bernard O'Neill

OLYMPIC silver medallist Ken Egan is expecting another tough duel when he takes on Belfast's Tommy McCarthy at the National Stadium tonight in the semi-finals of the unseeded Open Elite competition.

Egan, who has moved up to heavyweight, beat McCarthy -- a silver medal winner for Northern Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games -- in the 2009 and 2010 Irish Elite light-heavyweight finals.

The IABA are using the Open to help with their selection process for the World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan, and tonight's clash will go a long way toward deciding who wears the Irish 91kg vest.

"Tommy is a good lad. He won bronze at the World Youths a few years back and silver at the Commonwealth Games. It should be a good fight and I am looking forward to it," said Egan.

"He has learned a lot and he has improved as well. We boxed in two finals and sparred a lot in High Performance, but this is the first time we have met at heavyweight so it should be interesting."

However, McCarthy's coach Pat McAllister believes that Egan has erred by moving up to the heavyweight class.

"Tommy is in really good form right now -- the best since moving up to heavyweight," he said. "He has developed and has matured a lot. He is much bigger and harder and he knows Kenny very well.

"This is Kenny Egan's first fight at heavyweight while Tommy has a few wins under his belt. Kenny has made a mistake moving up."

Meanwhile, Tyrone McCullagh yesterday posted an impressive 22-10 win over Shane Cox in the opening quarter-final of the competition.

The all-Holy Trinity BC derby went the way of Mark O'Hara at the expense of his club-mate Sean McComb, with O'Hara earning a 13-5 decision.

Five-time Elite champion and European bronze medalist Eric Donovan looked sharp in his clash with Gavin Keating, with the St Michael's Athy man producing a particularly good second round to earn a 24-10 decision.

Donovan will now meet clubmate David Oliver Joyce in the semi-final. Joyce, the 2009 EU champ, forced Jason Conroy into a standing count in the second round en route to a 13-5 victory.

Elite welterweight champ Adam Nolan, meanwhile, turned in an exhibition to post a 21-6 verdict over Niall Murray, while John Joe Joyce let a 3-1 first-round advantage slip against Roy Sheehan, who was full value for his 16-8 victory.

Karl Brabazon posted his second victory in 24 hours with a 16-11 decision over Paul Upton. Michael O'Reilly held a two-point advantage (12-10) over Stephen Donnelly going into the third round and held the same advantage at the final bell, while Stephen O'Reilly won every round 3-2 to post a 9-6 win over Conor Coyle.

Shane Murtagh, Conrad Cummings, 2009 European Youth champ Jason Quigley and Ken Okungbowa also won yesterday. Today's semi-finals will be decided over two sessions beginning at 2.0 and 7.0. The finals will be held tomorrow (3.0).

results in factfile

Irish Independent

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