Date announced for Ulster Elite Senior Championships
A provisional date has finally been pencilled in for the Ulster Elite Senior Championships.
The tournament has been off the calendar so far this year due to difficulties in finding space within the packed Irish boxing calendar.
Initially set to take place in February, the tournament was shelved due to being sandwiched in between the National U22 and National Elite Senior Championships.
A date has now been picked, and the championships are provisionally scheduled to take place in early November. Boxers will weigh-in on Sunday November 4th, with preliminaries and semi finals taking place between Tuesday the 7th and Thursday the 9th, with the big finals in the Dockers Club in Belfast running on Friday the 10th.
The proposed dates are slightly later than what many expected, with numerous fighters anticipating the tournament to run at the end of September. A November start-time would facilitate the entry of Antrim trio Kurt Walker, Brendan Irvine, and Sean McComb who will compete at the World Championships in Hamburg at the end of this month – although McComb has previously stated that he will not enter the Ulster Seniors while Paul McMahon remains president of the Ulster Council.
The championships have seen falling participation in recent years, with just 27 fighters entering last year. However, it is hoped that this year will attract greater interest due to the carrot of the Commonwealth Games potentially being on the line. While it has not been confirmed, the tournament will most likely play a heavy part in selection for the 2018 Games in the Gold Coast. The last Commonwealth-adjacent Ulster Seniors featured 41 entries.
For this edition of the Commonwealth Games the two new Olympic eligible weights for women [featherweight (57kg) and welterweight (69kg)] will be included as well as light flyweight (48kg). At present it looks as though for that men will compete across the ten current weights. However, there is an impending change that will see the ten weights be reduced to eight, with a recalibration of some, maybe all, of the remaining weight limits.
It is unclear whether the Commonwealth Games will stick to this 16-class breakdown, agreed upon in April, or if they will reduce classes in line with the new ruling, announced in June, which itself is yet to be clarified or implemented.
The Games in Australia take place from April 4th to 15th