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Breakfast calls time – Dean Gardiner retires from boxing with Olympics in touching distance

Dean Gardiner has shocked and surprised by announcing his retirement from boxing last night.

The super heavyweight, affectionately knows as ‘Breakfast’ around the National Stadium and beyond, hung up his gloves despite only being two victories away from Tokyo.

The Clonmel BC fighter was in the last 16 of the postponed Olympic Qualifier in London, meaning he was potentially nine minutes or less away from securing a spot on the plan to the rescheduled Games.

However, it seems the cancellation of the National Elite Championships, which were initially scheduled for next week, the general uncertainty around when amateur boxing can resume, study and a young child have prompted the experienced Tipperary big man to call it a day.

Even at 32, Gardiner could make some money in the pro ranks and would attract interest from a host of managers and promoters, but it seems the new father and now full time student is content to call it a day completely.

Martin Fennessy of Clonmel BC confirmed the news on social media last night,

“Dean made his decision on new years eve after weighing up all his options and priorities over the last few months.

“Dean returned to full time education last September doing a degree in business studies, as planned, thinking that Tokyo 2020 Games would have been completed. Dean and his girlfriend Nastasha had a bouncing baby boy Michael last year, so a lot of life changes to juggle with 10 to 12 training sessions per week, some in Dublin and Clonmel Boxing Club.With only so many hours in a day and the cancellation of the National Senior Elite championships this month and the uncertainty of boxing in general at the present time, Dean called it a day.”

Gardiner has been first pick at super heavyweight for international tournaments for the last seven years, stepping into old clubmate and friend Con Sheehan’s shoes.

The popular operator has represented his country at European Union, European Games, European Championships and World Championships.

He has four National Elite Senior titles to his name as well as an Intermediate strap and a Youth title.

The timing of the decision will raise eyebrows. Gardiner was guaranteed a place in the European Olympic qualifiers and was due to fight Petar Belberov to move to within one win of qualification, for the second successive cycle.

Ireland won’t be able to send a replacement for the rescheduled European Olympic Qualifiers, but will now be able to try and get a super heavyweight qualified via the World Olympic Qualifiers, prompting Martin Kennan, Thomas Carty and the likes to take note.

We here at would like to wish ‘Breakfast’ luck in his retirement. We would like to him for the entertainment over the years as well as the access.

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: