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Donoghue cleared to fight? IABA hint at Russian opponent boycott change

IABA President, Gerry O’Mahony has suggested the boycott is over and John Donoghue will be allowed to fight for a World Junior Championships medal tomorrow.

The Olympic Mulingr fighter had secured himself a medal fight courtesy of back-to-back wins in Yerevan this week, but the light welterweight looked set to be withdrawn from his quarter-final after he had drawn Russian Zakhar Bespalov.

The 15-year-old looked set to be the next victim of the ‘draw Russia or Belarus and withdraw’ policy.

However, speaking on Live Line today O’Mahony said that he was prepared to end the boycott.

The IABA president suggested he felt comfortable with lifting the boycott, which rumour suggested was put in place by request of the Government and Sport Ireland, following comments from Minister of State for Sport Thomas Byrne.

The Minster said there was no government pressure and that it was a decision solely for the IABA.

Responding to a question on the issue from Chris Andrews TD at an Oireachtas committee yesterday, Minister of State for Sport insisted there would be no consequences for individuals who faced Russian fighters.

“There won’t be,” he said. “The IABA are an autonomous organisation. We don’t tell them what to do.”

When pressed by Andrews if there would be any instruction or sanctions from Sport Ireland, Byrne replied “No.”

He added: “I, and like-minded ministers internationally, have been very clear on the exclusion of athletes representing Russia or Belarus. We as ministers have made a number of very clear statements in this regard. This has certainly placed athletes and indeed the IABA in a difficult position, in particular.

“I certainly welcome and applaud that they have stuck to this principle, and their boxers, and it’s a very important point that they do. But we have always been very clear that the IABA is an autonomous organisation and they make their own decisions. We don’t make those decisions for them.”

The IABA board have yet to officially lift the boycott but are meeting today to discuss a change in policy.

It’s a policy that has already forced Tegan Farrelly to give a walkover in the World Junior Championships, while Kian Hedderman, Gavin Rafferty and Evelyn Igharo were all withdrawn from the European U22 Championships

Ireland also boycotted the senior men’s and women’s World Championships this year after a ban on Russian and Belarussian athletes was lifted.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years