Commonwealth Youth Games heartbreak for Belfast boxer

The Northern Irish Commonwealth Youth Games team was formerly announced earlier this week, and six young boxers will travel to the Bahamas to compete in the tournament that runs July 18th-23rd.

However, the listed line-up did lead to some confusion.

The team was chosen following a selection tournament in Belfast in March and subsequent box-offs in Dublin last month.

Holy Trinity duo Kian Bittles and Kane Tucker were selected following the initial tournament at the Dockers, before Dominic Bradley, John Moran, and Anthony Johnston then all won box-offs to book their places

At light welterweight, Glengormley’s Edgar Vuskans would receive a walkover from Aaron McKenna in the box-offs, and it was assumed the Belfast boxer, who also won the Dockers tournament, would be chosen. However, the official announcement would confirm that McKenna, whose older brother Stevie won gold at the tournament in 2015, would be making the trip to the Caribbean.

The reason for this? Vuskans does not hold a passport from a Commonwealth nation.

The 64kg fighter moved to Belfast over ten years ago from Latvia, however he has been deemed ineligible to compete at the Games in July.

A disgusted Vuskans would say that “my dream of going to the Bahamas and winning a gold medal at the Commonwealth Youths has been ruined because of an issue with my passport, a bit of paper has ruined my chance of accomplishing my dreams.”

“All I am is a foreign name and an immigrant in the eyes of the Commonwealth Committee.” would like to offer our commiserations to Edgar following this disappointment, as well as wishing McKenna, Tucker, Bradley, Bittles, Moran, and Johnston the best of luck at the tournament.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: