Dylan Eagleson settles for sliver after European final defeat

Dylan Eagleson had to settle for siliver after suffering defeat in the European Elite Championship batamweight final in Armenia today.

The teen stars impressive charge through an Elite European field came to a halt on finals day, the final hurdle proving the only one the Bangor native couldn’t navigate.

Eagleson’s gold mission was stopped only by France’s Bilal Bennama, a World Championship medal winner, and more experienced foe.

The Irish starlet was competitive and enjoy moments of real success across the nine minutes but Bennama just had that little bit extra. The French bantam punished the one real mistake the teen made knocking him over in the second and effectively making sure of victory with one moment of class.

Regardless of the result today’s final, Eagleson has been one of the stories of the tournament and his performances have seen him transform from relatively unknown kid prospect to a world-level operator and genuine Paris 2024 hope.

Amazingly the St Paul’s Belfast fighter has yet to compete in a National Elite Championships, he caught wider attention when he won the Irish U22 title earlier this year and went on to claim European U22 bronze in the spring. No doubt he will be upset without today’s reverse but in time will look at this tournament as a transformative moment where he came from nowhere to win an Elite European Championship silver medalist.

The first round was relatively tentative with the quality coming in flashes from both fighters. The French #1 landing some eyecatching backhands when timing the Irish fighters exits and Eagleson’s best work being to the body. As a result the Irish fighter went into the second round trailing on four of the five score cards.

The teen southpaw a it a gear in the second and seemed to enjoy success, getting in and out well and using to the check hook when pressured. However, he walked onto a strong left from his fellow southpaw and found himself on the seat of his pants mid way through the round.

Eagleson wasn’t hurt but was given a count and from that point victory looked very unlikely.

One of the stars of the tournament didn’t give in and was competitive win the final round, indeed he seemed determined to enjoy the last three minutes of his first international tournament, dropped his hands and picked some lovely flashy shots.

Eagleson clapped in appreciation of his opponent at result read out time presuming the result wasn’t going to go his way – and he assumed right with Bennama winning via a unanamious decision.

Team Ireland:

48kg Ricky Nesbitt, Holy Family, Drogheda

51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin

54kg Dylan Eagleson, St. Paul’s, Belfast

57kg Adam Hession, Monivea BC, Galway

60kg JP Hale, Star ABC, Belfast.

63.5kg Brandon McCarthy, St. Michael’s, Athy.

67kg Eugene McKeever, Holy Family, Drogheda

71kg Luke Maguire, Esker BC, Dublin

75kg Gabriel Dossen, Olympic, Galway.

92kg Jack Marley, Monkstown BC, Dublin

Coaches:
Zauri Antia

Dmitrij Dmitruk

Damian Kennedy

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com