The Elite Senior Championships come to their conclusion and, while there are a lot of fresh-faced talents, there are still plenty of fighters with big names and big achievements.
One such match-up is a clash of champions at welterweight, with defending champion Gráinne Walsh of Sparticus in Offaly taking on Ciara Ginty who has moved up from light welter.
Geesala fighter Ginty is one of Ireland’s most decorated underage amateurs ever and, following a period out for the Leaving Certificate examinations, looked to have made a breakthrough at Senior level last year with a maiden Elite title win.
The World Junior gold and Youth Olympic silver medalist looked composed and comfortable in winning the 64kg crown against Emma Agnew, but was unable to build on this on the international scene.
A late withdrawal from the Irish team that claimed three medals at the EU Championships in Italy last Summer. Ginty explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “I missed out due to a family bereavement and after picking up a minor injury at the end of my training camp, I was very disappointed to miss the opportunity to gain experience at international elite level.”
Following an International against India in September, Ginty refocused at welterweight and began 2018 with an Under-22 title last month before edging past last year’s runner-up Gillian Duffy in the Elite semi-finals at the weekend.
While still a rangey fighter, size is no longer as much of a factor for the still-developing Mayo youngster.
“It has been a gradual process for me,” she admits. “I feel that I am growing into the weight.”
It’s not lost on Ginty that 69kg is due to become an Olympic weight for women, unlike 64kg. The 20-year-old explained how “because of college commitments, I’m struggling to maintain 64kg – also, as 69kg is an Olympic weight it makes sense to compete in this category.”
A Health Science and Physiology student at IT Sligo, Ginty is planning a very, very busy year.
Already set to head to the European Under-22 Championships in Romania in March and the World University Championships in Russia in September, a win against Walsh at the weekend could open even more doors.
While 2018 is a quiet year for men’s amateur boxing, the schedule for women is intense and – with Europeans in Poland in May and Worlds in India in November – Ginty could find herself competing in four major international tournaments across 2018.
For now though, the focus is on the heavy-hitting Walsh and one of the picks of finals night which will be shown live on RTÉ.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)