Craig Kavanagh – “I came on stronger this year”

Runner up last year as a youngster, Crumlin’s Craig Kavanagh came of age on Sunday to become the new Irish under 18 champion at bantamweight.

The Dubliner beat Bay City’s Seamus Mongan on a 4-1 split decision in a tight decider at the National Stadium, landing the crisper shots against a relentless opponent.

It was a third win in three days for the rangey Kavanagh, who claimed his fourth Irish title.

Looking back on the fight, Kavanagh told that “it was a bit scrappy, but I came through.”

“He was an inside fighter, so I had to try use my range, I was catching him with cleaner shots – but he was fit so I was a bit tired in the third round.”

It was a case of third time’s a charm for Kavanagh, was denied by the eventual champion at flyweight in both under 18 tournaments in 2016. These losses would not dishearten the Ballyfermot teen, who knew his time would come and everything came together at the weekend.

Kavanagh explained that “I boxed in the two under 18s last year, I got beat in the final and the winner who beat me [Terry McEntee] went on to get bronze in the Europeans, then I got beat by Conor Quinn who won the next one.”

“Sure I was only 16, they were 18. I came on stronger this year.”

Next up, most likely is a trip to the European Youth Championships in Turkey this September, and Kavanagh promises that “I’ll train hard over the Summer.”

Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show:

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: