Bernard Dunne expressed his disappointed with Ireland’s showing in the recent World Amateur Championships.
The former WBA super bantamweight champion of the world believes Ireland’s big performers didn’t produce in Baku earlier this month and the tournament wasn’t a big success as a result.
Ireland did manage to secure three coveted Olympic spots via Darren O’Neil, Michael Conlon and John Joe Nevin-Nevin also secured a bronze medal-, but like most pundits and fans the Irish boxing legend expected more from a world class team
Dunne claims he was shocked that the likes of Joe Ward and Paddy Barnes exited at such an early stage.
“If you look at the worlds I would have to be a wee bit disappointed. If you look at our big names. Our big guns, our main performers they guys you can usually count on they didn’t step up the plate,” Dunne said.
“That shocked me. We’re talking about Paddy Barnes and Joe Ward. Joe just turned 18 this month and even at that age he is a seasoned campaigner. He has travelled the world, he has won World and European titles. That is all you can ask for a kid his age. A bit of complacency set in at the Worlds- and he hears he is fighting an Iranian.”
Despite being disappointed in how some of the more fancied Irish names did in Azerbaijan, Dunne is still predicting they will be sporting the shamrock in London next summer.
Not only does the Dubliner think we have the quality he believes passage to the Olympics has been made much easier after the Worlds and believes at least three Irish fighters will qualify via the last chance saloon in Instanbull in April.
“I would be fully sure Paddy and Joe will get through in the next qualifier. You have Moylette, Hickey, young Sheehan- he has improved. With the top guys gone because they have qualified at the worlds, these next qualifiers will be less hard. You’d expect a big return.”
One man unsure of his Olympic future is Kenny Egan. Dunne’s fellow Clondalkin native struggled at heavyweight in the World’s and has to decide if he will try to qualify at his natural weight early next year.
With Joe Ward failing to qualify the Beijing silver medallist has a chance to fill Ireland’s light heavyweight London berth. Egan could enter the Nationals at light heavy become senior champion and earn the right to go the Olympic qualifier in April.
Dunne certainly believes that is the best route for him.
“Kenny is fighting in the wrong weight Division. Kenny had no choice but to go up to heavyweight for his qualifier because he wasn’t going to be sent to the World championships otherwise, so why not take a chance,” Dunne added. “Kenny’s big decision is now going to be the National Championships and does he come back down to light heavy and replicate what he did in Beijing ? I don’t think he has any chance at heavyweight to win a medal.”