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Darren O’Neill delighted with being at ‘pinnacle of Irish boxing’ and now targets Rio

Former middleweight champ Darren O’Neill retained his heavyweight crown at the National Elite Championships on Friday night.

The Kilkenny boxer overcame Bernie O’Reilly, brother of Michael, at the National Stadium to claim his second heavyweight, and sixth in total, title.

Afterwards the 2012 Olympian spoke to and gave an honest appraisal of his performance, reasoning that “I was by no means at my very best, but I just did enough to get through every round and get thee win.”

“I’m just happy with winning the final.”

“I’ve obviously have things to work on but I’m happy, I’m delighted to get through that”

Indeed the veteran star noted that his opponent came well-prepared, explaining that “they came with a gameplan”

“He was awkward.”

“I’ve boxed his brother before and as I said, there’s plenty footage available of me to do homework on.”

O’Neill also paid tribute to the championships and described their importance to him, noting that “I’ve came through the National Championships more often than not, that’s my 10th Senior Final and thankfully I’m just tipping the scales in the right direction now with 6 wins and 4 losses.”

“It’s the pinnacle of Irish boxing, no matter what show you go to you won’t see a night of boxing like you would here, you’ve European medalists, World medalists, Olympians all in the one arena on the one night.”

“I think it’s a fantastic night.”

Now O’Neill’s focus turns to Istanbul next April for the European Olympic qualifiers, and the well-spoken Paulstown boxer is cautiously optimistic, saying that “things have being going well for me this year so hopefully they I can go a little bit more over the next few months.”

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: