It’s Ireland versus England in a mouthwatering European Schools Championships Last 16 clash in Slovenia today.
However, the 46kg meeting of Padraig Walsh and Owen McCann could be deemed an all-Irish affair. Indeed, the Immaculta prospect’s clash with England’s #1 could be seen as a Battle of Belfast.
The talented Walsh is Team Ireland’s select and #1 in the country at the weight, but McCann’s links to Ireland are extremely strong – and not in a granny rule sense.
McCann, who was born in England, spends his time between staying with family in London and training in Belfast. His coach is Irish Boxing Awards Trainer of the Year Dee Walsh.
He had hoped to compete in this year’s Irish Boy 3 Championships – having previously won the 2021 Boy 1 Championships and finished runner-up at Boy 2 level in 2022 – but didn’t register his change in club within the allocated time frame.
So, faced with a year out, the teen entered the England Boxing National Schools Championships with the Rainham boxing club and duly won to become the only Belfast boxer to win an Irish National Schoolboy title and an English National Schoolboy title.
Indeed he won the title in such style that he was crowned Boxer of the Tournament and earned a slot on the English Schools Team.
As fate would have it he was drawn against Walsh and Ireland in the second round after both posted impressive wins on the opening day of action.
Kalib Walsh, Jason Donoghue Maher and Darren O’Toole will all also represent their country and the continental stage.