‘Breakfast’ missed out on qualification for the upcoming World Championships after his elimination at the Last 16 stage of the recent European Championships in Ukraine.
However an injury to Frazer Clarke, the silver medalist in Kharkiv, meant that one spot for the Worlds opened up and, as he was defeated by eventual gold medalist Viktor Vykhryst, Gardiner was given the berth for the tournament in Hamburg next month.
Gardiner revealed yesterday that “I qualified in the end because I boxed the champion and someone else got injured, so I was next in line. Here I am. People are only being told today [Wednesday], although I knew it last week.”
“It’s great news, I was delighted to get the call but it wasn’t a huge shock, because in boxing you always have to be ready. But do you know what? That was never in my mind. This was the first time ever that I kept myself ready. I wasn’t even thinking about going to the Worlds, I was just keeping myself ready, having a good lifestyle.”
“I think you make your own luck, and that’s what happened here.”
“It’s probably gave me a bit of a lift in me ego, I suppose!”
His sole fight in Kharkiv saw Gardiner lose to the home favourite, being stopped in the second round. However, the Clonmel man is level-headed when analysing the defeat to an opponent he himself bested last Summer.
“It didn’t go my way. I was boxing well, I was up on the judges’ scorecards, but I got caught with a big shot. These things happen in heavyweight boxing. It is what it is,” said the big Munster man.
“The first rule you learn when you’re in. in boxing is ‘keep your hands up’, and I didn’t do that. I came up with my hands down, I walked into a left hook and I got caught lovely. My boxing out there was on point, what I need to do is work on my defence.”
“But I’m going to the World Championships, and in seven weeks I’ll be more than ready to bring home a medal, please God.”
A fixture of the Irish team in recent years, Gardiner appreciates the High Performance Unit’s new base at the Institute of Sport in Abbotstown and believes that this can give him an added boost ahead of the tournament in Germany – his first World Championships.
Of the new facilities, Gardiner noted that “it’s great. I was in South Circular Road for three years, so it’s good to have a change of scenery. We have a better Strength and Conditioning gym, and a better gym all-round, more rings, can’t complain.”
“In seven weeks I’ll be more than ready to go out there and compete with the best. Hopefully bring home a medal, it wont be impossible.”