Following plenty of internal debates, Ireland are sending a team to World Championships which begin in Belgrade this weekend.
Seven boxers will represent Ireland in Serbia but the boxers who aren’t going are generating as many headlines as those who are, with many lamenting why stars such as Gabriel Dossen and Kieran Molloy have not been selected.
There is plenty of talk and rumour surrounding why some have not been given a seat on the plane but some clarity has been provided regarding young heavyweight Jack Marley.
The Monkstown 18-year-old was the break-out star of the National Elite Championships at the start of the month, wowing the likes of Kenny Egan as he roared to the 91kg crown, becoming the second-youngest Irish heavyweight champion in history.
It’s been an amazing few months for the aggressive Dubliner following a brilliant bronze at the European Under-22s in Italy during the summer.
However, it has been agreed by the boxer and his coaches that the Worlds are too soon. The cliche of ‘if you’re good enough, you’re old enough’ doesn’t necessarily apply in the land of the giants.
Monkstown BC coach James Doyle explained to Irish-Boxing.com that “to be honest, it was a decision we all agreed with.”
“The easy decision would being to just send him and we understand why some people would want to send him but the decision was made with Jack’s long term future in mind.”
“You don’t send 18-year-olds to the World Championships for experience against the big hitters at heavyweight.”
Marley burst onto the scene in Italy where, as one of the youngest boxers competing, he won two fights en-route to the semi-finals and a bronze medal.
These were his first fights without a headguard and, while he followed it up with two eye-catching wins in the Irish Elites, he is still cutting his teeth as an adult boxer.
Doyle explains how “aside from the European Under-22s, he’s actually only had six rounds since he’s been eligible for senior level – and to be honest we could have sent him out trying to blast his opponents out of there but we wanted him boxing.”
“We were very happy with his tournament performance wise [in the Irish Elites] but we will still have loads to improve and continue to work on all sides of his boxing.”
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Not sending boxers to the Worlds, it has been suggested, could push them towards the pro game but Marley is understanding of the decision and is thinking long-term.
The teenager impressed during an international sparring camp in Sheffield and a more gradual progression is planned – with Paris 2024 still very much in his sights.
Doyle notes how “of course, the dream and targets are the big tournaments like the Europeans, Worlds and Olympics but we think by the time the next Olympic qualifiers come along, Jack will have a lot more experience at elite level with camps and multi-nations.”
“Between ourselves and the IABA HPU, Jack will be ready for some big performances for the Irish team by the time the next World Championships come around.”