Boxing begins at the National Stadium this evening in the 2017 Senior Elite Championships.
A larger than average number of boxers have entered this year and it promises to be an exciting three weeks of action.
However, there are a number of top quality boxers who will not be competing in this months championships for one reason or another.
Below Irish-Boxing.com go through some of the major names who will not be vying for top prize this year and, considering the massive quality of the field which remains, it just shows the strength in-depth that there is in Irish boxing at the moment.
Firstly there are the fighters who have withdrawn from the initial entry list.
Reigning super heavyweight Dean Gardiner will not defend his crown due to illness.
Rio Olympian Steven Donnelly is out of the welterweight running, with a chest infection leaving him unable to safely make weight. An inability to make weight the right way, due to work commitments, also sees four-time champ and 2007 EU gold medalist Roy Sheahan withdraw from the middleweight mix
Another middleweight, Newry’s Conor Wallace who finished runner-up last time, is out due to a persistent hand injury.
Then there is 2014 Commonwealth silver medalist Michaela Walsh, who had moved back to featherweight but the Belfast woman has pulled out with injury. Walsh’s younger brother, 2015 Commonwealth Youth gold medalist Aidan, is also out with a broken thumb.
Finally, Rio Olympian Davey Oliver Joyce is also a late withdrawal with a hand injury, and will not defend his lightweight title.
Then there are the big names who did not enter in the first place.
Naas lightweight Gary Cully has been tipped by many to take over the lightweight division, but misses out this time due to a hand injury. James Cleary, semi finalist at light welter last time, also has not entered.
Last year’s welterweight runner up Martin Stokes has moved up to middleweight, and the Drogheda fighter is said to have improved massively, but does not enter here, while light heavyweight champ JP Delaney does not defend his belt this year due to a long-term battle with injury
Oughterard’s Kieran Molloy is highly-rated by many in Irish boxing, but has not entered the championships. The Galway fighter is currently out in American and believed to be weighing up potential pro options.
Reigning +81kg champion Diana Campbell, 48kg champ Lauren Hogan, and 69kg champ Clare Grace are all not among this year’s entries, while Donegal’s Donna Barr misses out due to injury. Intermediate champions Emma Flannery (51kg), Ashley Browne (54kg), and Connie Vaughan (69kg) also do not feature, nor do Under-22 champions Nell Fox (81kg), Nicole Moorehouse (57kg), or Clodagh McComiskey (54kg).
Reigning Intermediate middleweight champion Tony McGlynn is also absent from the entry list. The Crumlin fighter had intended to move down to welter but is ruled out with a hand injury. The man who won the Intermediates at 69kg, Conor Ivors, is another who doesn’t enter. Geronimo won that tournament on adrenaline, hours after being in a car crash, and understandably does not enter this month.
Intermediate light welter champ Eugene McKeever, who moved up to 69kg for the Under 22s, was badly cut in last weekend’s final and does not enter here. Another Intermediate champion, 49kg winner Conor Kearney, moved up in weight for the Under-22s but, after his controversial elimination, does not feature this month.
Looking at last week’s Under-22s, it is apparent that the IABA’s intention is to foster a more gradual development for young fighters, and for many the target is the European Under-22s in Romania next month rather than the Seniors.
Therefore, six of last week’s Under-22 champions do not enter. These are Jordan Moore, James McGivern, Dylan Duffy, John Maughan, Kelyn Cassidy, and Brian Kennedy (all of whom are still in their teens bar Duffy).
Other teenage hot-shots who have not entered include Michael Nevin, Conor Quinn, Christopher O’Reilly, Oliver McCarthy, Rhys Moran, and Terry McEntee.
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: