Irish boxers on top

August 4, 2009

The Irish team won 19 of their 21 bouts against Finland, GB, Holland, Sweden and Uzbekistan at the weekend to fininsh top of the table.

But Kenny Egan, a silver medal winner at the Beijing Olympics, was one of two Irish boxers who lost over the two-day event after he was beaten 17-13 by Sweden’s Babacar Kamara. Egan’s defeat arrived just 24 hours after he beat Finland’s Emeli Katajisto 7-1 and ties the series between the Neilstown clubman and Kamara at 3-3 over six fights in the last six years.

Kamara, who beat Egan at the 2005 World Championships in China, won all three rounds against the Dubliner (3-2,6-4,8-7) in an absorbing fight which ebbed and flowed all the way to the final bell. IABA president Dominic O’Rourke said: “I wouldn’t read too much into Ken’s defeat. It was a thrilling contest which could have gone either way in the last round.”

Meanwhile, Beijing bronze medal winner Paddy Barnes was one of 6 boxers who chalked up straight wins to clinch a famous victory over Great Britain on Saturday night, defeating them 6-0.

Those victories were recorded 24 hours after Ireland hammered Asian powerhouses Uzbekistan 6-0 at the home of Irish boxing.

All the countries involved were using the Dublin tournament as part of their preparations for the AIBA World Championships in Italy next month. And O’Rourke admitted that Ireland’s boxing stars haven’t made life any easier for their selection panel.

He said: “The lads have been great all week and they’ve given us the ideal selection headache before we announce our squad for the World Championships.

“The entire squad rose to the occasion over the two nights and throughout the training camp and we couldn’t have asked for any more from them, particularly when you consider the quality of opposition they were up against.”

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