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5 Fantastic Fights This Weekend at the 2021 Irish National Elite Senior Championships

The National Elite Championships make a comeback this weekend.

We had two instalments of the blue ribbon tournament in 2019 and it’s been missing since.

A post-Olympic ‘Seniors’ plays out over the next three weekends and will be available to view across various TG4 platforms.

The eagerly anticipated tournament gloves off tonight and runs into a bumper day tomorrow with prelims and quarterfinals playing out over three sessions.

As is the nature of the tournament, pitting the best domestic talents against each other, there are an abundance of fights to watch out for and, with the stakes so high, every contest has the potential to excite and entertain.

We’ve picked five we believe have the potential to ignite and come loaded with a little bit more narrative.

The fact all five are so mouthwatering and take place on the opening weekend just shows why the ‘Seniors’ are so special:

Friday 7:30pm
57kg Preliminaries – Patryk Adamus (Drimnagh) v Jude Gallagher (Two Castles)

2019 Champion Adamus is looking for his second featherweight crown while 2020 flyweight champ Gallagher, who is trained by Eric Donovan, is stepping up in weight looking for his second title. The Tyrone fighter’s first feather foray was ended by Colm Murphy in the 2020 Ulster semis but he has since built into the weight more. Two busy fighters, this could be a war.

Saturday 1:00pm
67kg Quarter-Finals – Michael Avetisian (Mulhuddart) v Kenneth Doyle (Monkstown)
Both fighters have moved up from 63kg and will rematch here in a repeat of the 2020 quarters which Avetisian won on a split-decision. This Dublin derby, which pits two former intermediate champions against each other, is a nice clash of styles with Avetisian having a rugged and relentless approach while Doyle is a smart and slick boxer.

Saturday 1:30pm – Fight of the Weekend
86kg Quarter-Finals – Kane Tucker (Emerald) v Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)

The first every Irish Elite cruiserweight bout is a doozy and will perhaps provide the inaugural champion. The ever-growing Tucker should be perfectly fit for this class while it is also a comfortable space for veteran O’Neill who was always out-sized up at heavyweight. Highly-rated by Bernard Dunne, Tucker punches like a train and may look to bully O’Neill but the evergreen Kilkenny Olympian has the smarts and southpaw skills to defeat most domestically. Kane unfortunately had to pull out on the eve of the European U22s due to illness but he has certainly been more active than O’Neill who saw a pro debut in October 2019 fall through and hasn’t boxed competitively in over FOUR years. Darren turned 36 on Monday, what a story it would be if he came through to win an EIGHTH senior title.

Saturday 4:00pm
57kg Quarter-Finals – Kurt Walker (Canal) v Adam Hession (Monivea)

It will be just under 50 days since his Olympic quarter-final when Walker steps into the ring on Saturday and while he is undoubtedly one of the best featherweights on the planet, his preparations have been far from perfect. Imperfect preparations are a common theme across these championships but Hession, the 2019 champion at flyweight, is in-form having won European U22 silver and has a full summer in the High Performance Unit behind him.

Saturday 5:15pm
+92kg Quarter-Finals – Kenneth Okungbowa (Athlone) v Martin Keenan (Rathkeale)
A good aul battle of the big men with the 2020 and 2017 champions facing off. Okungbowa had a pro MMA bout during the amateur boxing drought and is incredibly tough to beat while small southpaw Keenan is equally awkward while also possessing fight-ending power. Bombs away.

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email:

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