All you need to know about the 2017 Elite Senior Finals

The centrepiece of the Irish amateur boxing calendar takes place tonight in Dublin – the finals of the National Elite Senior Championships.

It promises to be a great night packed full of action with fresh blood and familiar faces.

Irish-Boxing.com will be there to cover the night but, before we make our way into Dublin, here is everything you need to know about the 2017 National Elite Senior Championships.

Where are they on?
The National Stadium
145 South Circular Road
Dublin 8

When do they start?
Tonight.
Doors open at 6:00pm
Ring parade at 7:15pm
First bell at 7:30pm

Where can I get tickets, and what are the prices?
Tickets available through Sally +35314533371
Ringside €40
Angles €30
Gallery €25
Children (U14) Gallery €10

How many fights are there?
Following on from the Intermediates in November, the IABA are running both the men’s and women’s finals on the same night. This means that there will be a whopping 16 fights on the card. A general rule of thumb in amateur boxing is that each fight takes 15 minutes, between the three rounds, the two breaks, the ringwalks, the decision etc. For a final, 15 minutes is usually stretched to 20 due to trophy presentations, photos etc. This means that tonight’s boxing could stretch past midnight!

16 fights?
There are 20 weight categories across men’s and women’s boxing. However, due to being the sole entry in their respective classes, Carly McNaul, Terry Mullarney, Christina Desmond, and Maeve McCarron have already won their titles via walkover.

What’s on the line?
Aside from National glory, the winners of the men’s competition will form the team that will head to the European Championships in Ukraine this Summer. Any Top 8 finishers in Kharkiv will then qualify for the World Championships. There are no major international tournaments for women this year, with the Worlds and Europeans both taking place next year. In addition, this is the first Seniors of the Tokyo Olympic cycle and a chance for the winners to stamp their authority on each weight going forward.

Any rule changes?
Women’s bouts are now contested over three three-minute rounds rather than four-twos as previous. Then, of course, for male boxers stepping up from Youth level, there is the removal of headguards (women are still required to wear headguards).

Who are the big names?
Three Olympians will fight tonight – Rio competitors Joe Ward and Brendan Irvine, as well as London Olympian Darren O’Neill. World Championships silver medalist Kelly Harrington is also in the running, as are European Games bronze medalist Sean McComb and European Championships bronze medalist Dean Walsh.

Who are the reigning champions?
Brendan Irvine, Kurt Walker, Moira McElligott, and Darren O’Neill defend their titles. In addition to this, Stevie McKenna, Dervla Duffy, Kelly Harrington, and Dean Walsh all won titles in the last Seniors but have since changed weight class.

Any big names missing out?
Yes. The tournament suffered from a succession of withdrawals due to injury and other circumstances. Irish-Boxing.com detailed them here.

What is the running order?
48kg Shannon Sweeney (St Annes) V Kristina O’Hara (St John Bosco A)
51kg Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road) title presentation
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal) V Stephen McKenna (Old School)
69kg Gillian Duffy (Bray) V Grainne Walsh (Spartacus)
57kg Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart) V Moira McElligott (St Michaels Athy)
54kg Terry Mullarney (Ballyhaunis) title presentation
81kg Caroline Connolly (Mourne GG) V Leona Houlihan (Crumlin)
49kg Darryl Moran (Illies GG) V Blaine Dobbins (St Josephs Derry)
81kg Joe Ward (Moate) V Tony Browne (St Michaels Dub)
60kg Kelly Harrington (Glasnevin) V Shauna O’Keeffe (Clonmel)
60kg George Bates (St Marys Dublin) V Patrick Mongan (Olympic)
64kg Emma Agnew (Dealgan) V Ciara Ginty (Geesala)
64kg Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) V Wayne Kelly (Ballynacargy)
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls) V Thomas McCarthy (Mayfield)
69kg Dean Walsh (St Ibars) V Brett McGinty (Oakleaf)
75kg Christina Desmond (Fr Horgans) title presentation
75kg Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin) V Stephen Broadhurst (Dealgan)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) V Ken Okungbowa (Athlone)
91+kg Martin Keenan (Rathkeale) V Thomas Carty (Glasnevin)
81+kg Maeve McCarron (Carrigart) title presentation

What fights should we watch out for?
All the bouts have the potential to be great. Some of the ones which we personally are especially looking forward to include:
Walsh v McGinty
O’Neill v Okungbowa
Keenan v Carty

Will it be shown live on television?
Sadly, for the first time in recent memory, the fights will not be shown live on television. Irish-Boxing.com will be running a live round-by-round blog on the site. A link will be added here later. Family and friends of the boxers may stream the fights live via their mobile phones, as will fan pages such as Darr Cole’s ‘Irish Boxers.’

Can I bet on the fights?
Yes, Paddy Power are offering markets on 12 of the fights.

Click here to read Irish-Boxing.com’s bumper preview of the night..

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie