On Friday night, Dubliner Emmet Brennan saw his name etched into the record books just a few lines down from his childhood idol.
The Glasnevin BC defeated rangey southpaw Stephen Broadhurst via 3-2 split decision in a close, tactical battle at the National Stadium to claim the Senior Elite middleweight title.
The recent 75kg roll of honour is a string of world class fighters: Michael O’Reilly, Jason Quigley, Darren O’Neill, Darren Sutherland, Andy Lee, Kenneth Egan. For a former St Saviours boxer, it’s a special title to win for Brennan, who now holds the championships won thrice by the late, great Sutherland.
Brennan recalled to Irish-Boxing.com how “I trained at St. Saviours for nine years and Darren Sutherland was an old club mate and my inspiration as a boxer. He had everything, he was a special person and a special talent. It was a bit emotional winning his old title but there will never be anyone as good as him.”
The decider on Friday was a cagey fight and Brennan negated the size of his Dealgan opponent well. He said that “the fight went exactly how we planned. He was another southpaw which I seem to handle very well. We worked on back hand attacks and plenty of feinting all week up to the fight, moving away from his backhand and it worked every time. I was in control from the first bell to the last without really doing anything spectacular.”
“It was all about just keeping the pressure on him and fighting my fight as he was very tall and awkward. I didn’t think he wanted to be in there with me, I just had too much for him.”
“I was the underdog in the bookies which I kind of laughed at considering I beat Johnny Joyce, the pre-tournament favourite, and I beat him comfortable enough. I also got up off the floor in my second fight and won. I’ve shown how adaptable I am, I’ve shown everything this tournament. I showed I don’t fear anyone, I’m technically good, I can box to instructions and I’m the most determined fighter in this country ”
Brennan may be a somewhat familiar name for the die-hard amateur boxing aficionados, but he has been off the scene for quite a while. The Dub outlined how “I won the Intermediates and Under-22s about four years ago. Things were going well, then I had absolutely no luck with injuries, I was basically injured for about two years and lost a lot of motivation and love for the game and eventually packed it in.”
“My trainer Jimmy Halpin was constantly asking my father if I was I coming back, which I did eventually and we both worked hard towards these Seniors. I’ve been relatively injury free the past few months and this was my first time doing the Seniors injury-free so we were very confident in winning and we’re both over the moon.”
For Brennan, the win opens the door to greater things for him, and he is one of a number of new champions that will benefit greatly from entry into the High Performance Unit ahead of the European Championships this Summer. He explained that “I work full time which not a lot of amateur boxers do in this Championships, maybe I was the only one in the weight that wasn’t boxing full time and I still won. I’m going to take a break from work now and go up to the High Performance full-time which is only going to bring me onto a new level again.”
“I’ve never had the opportunity to train full time and constantly having high performance training and sparring is only going to motivate me to reach the next level internationally. I earned my spot as number one in the country so I’m going to do everything I can to keep it and represent my country as the number one middleweight.”
“I know I have the talent and ability to do very well internationally, training full time is only going to bring me on. I’m 25, so I’m just maturing nicely now I think I’m going to surprise a lot of people and do very good things internationally.”