Sunday 17 November 2019

Nolan lays down the law to realise his dream

Adam Nolan, left, Bray Boxing Club, evades a punch by John Joe Joyce, St. Michael's Boxing Club, Athy, during their 69kg bout.
Adam Nolan, left, Bray Boxing Club, evades a punch by John Joe Joyce, St. Michael's Boxing Club, Athy, during their 69kg bout.

Bernard O'Neill

LONDON 2012 Olympian Adam Nolan turned his dream into reality after beating Beijing 2008 Olympian John Joe Joyce to claim his fourth Elite title at the National Championships at Dublin's National Stadium last night.

The Bray BC southpaw scored a unanimous decision over the St Michael's Athy orthodox and ex-European Elite bronze medallist to secure the vacant welterweight belt.

"I dreamt I regained the title, but I knew going in there that I had to perform to my best," said Nolan.

Joyce, who was aiming for his fifth belt, lost to a slick performance from Nolan, particularly in the first round, in a repeat of the 2012 final, which Nolan also won.

The Wexford-born Garda detonated four big lefts in the opening frame, and while Joyce finished out the second on the front foot, Nolan closed out the third to victory.

The win had his Bray BC team-mate Katie Taylor, the current Olympic and World champion, punching the air in delight.

DELIGHTED

"You could see what it meant to him to win it. He's trained so hard for this and he performed absolutely brilliantly over the three rounds and everyone at the club is delighted," said the World No 1.

Nolan added: "I think it's one my best (performances), three years ago against John Joe was another great one and Willie McLaughlin."

"You can see there tonight, it's hard, I think it was fairly one-sided and that's because I performed so well, I was really sharp and I hurt John Joe early on.

"I was going well in the Championships, but there's always the danger that you peak too early. I stood up to the plate tonight and I'm delighted with that."

Meanwhile, London 2012 captain Darren O'Neill, a four-time middleweight champion, celebrated a high-five after edging Athlone's Ken Okungbowa on a split decision to win his first belt at heavyweight.

However, it was a gory victory for the Kilkenny southpaw as both boxers were left bloodied after an accidental clash of heads in the first round.

Meanwhile, defending middleweight champion Michael O'Reilly made it back-to-back titles after earning a unanimous verdict over rangy Dundalk southpaw Stephen Broadhurst over three, three minutes rounds.

Antrim's Brendan Irvine claimed the light-fly title vacated by Paddy Barnes, who did not enter, after earning an unanimous decision over ex-champion Hugh Myers.

Nineteen-year-old Irvine showcased enough skills en route to his first win at this level against the hard-punching Myers to serve warning to Barnes, a two-time Olympic medallist, that a formidable Irish opponent is on the immediate horizon.

Kurt Walker secured the second belt on offer on a unanimous verdict over Sean Higginson in a repeat of last month's Ulster bantamweight final, which Walker won by the same margin.

The women's Elite finals will be decided tonight at the National Stadium. World No 8 Claire Grace defends her welterweight belt against Cork's 2014 Youth Olympian Christina Desmond.

Louis Donohue and Debbie O'Reilly go head-to-head for the lightweight title vacated by Katie Taylor because of an arm injury.

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