“I had no motivation” – Emmet Brennan has hunger back after World Championships disappointment


Emmet Brennan got a fleeting glimpse of High Performance and tournament life this year before it was all taken away.

Now the Dublin middleweight is back and eager to have another experience at the top level.

Brennan won the 2017 Elite Seniors and went to the European Championships in Ukraine – where he won one fight before being defeated in the Last 16 by eventual silver medalist Kamran Shaksuvarly.

With the World Championships no longer an open event, and Brennan not fulfilling the qualification criteria whilst at the Europeans, the Glasnevin boxer was forced to look on as the five-strong Ireland team prepared for the tournament in Germany.

It was tough for Brennan, but the past week has seen him rejoin the High Performance Unit and, like a lightswitch, the hunger has returned.

Looking back at 2017, Brennan explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “the first six months were great, my first Senior title and my first time on the High Performance team, it just gives you that extra push.”

“I was flat out, you’d wake up every day and all you’d think about were the Europeans, you’re training, you’re eating well and then, once they’re over, you’re at a bit of a loss.”

“I went through about two months where I wasn’t doing that much. I was still down at the club the odd time but I took about three or four weeks ‘proper’ off. I had no motivation.”

“I went back up [to the High Performance] on Wednesday and as soon as you’re back up there the motivation comes back. The club obviously has very good boxers, but there you’ve the best sparring, it gives you the motivation.”

A well-rounded, talented fighter, a pro move for Brennan could make sense, but the 26 year old wants to stay amateur – and has been given a vote of confidence by HPU Head Coach Zaur Antia.

“Of course I’m going to stick around,” stated Brennan. “The pros at the moment doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Once I’m performing I’ll stick around for the Olympics.”

“I had a good chat with Zaur, he was happy with my performance in the Europeans because that was my first major tournament.”

“There’s still a few more Seniors to go until the Olympics, my goal is to win this Seniors, get back on the High Performance, improve, and qualify.”

His first major tournament brought a lot of positives for Brennan, and he reasoned that “the fella that beat me won a bronze in the Olympics, a bronze in the Worlds, and a silver in the Europeans.”

“He did beat me, but he didn’t outclass me. The first two rounds were close then he went away with it in the last.”

“I’m taking the positives. I beat the Polish fella. My goal was to qualify for the Worlds, but I can still take positives. Another year of High Performance training and I’m only going to get better.”

“Once I’m one hundred percent right I can get in there with anyone.”

Brennan returned to action for the first time since the Europeans on Friday night, taking on Elite Senior runner-up Tony Browne in a no-decision exhibition on the Glasnevin BC show in the Ringside Club.

With the fire having been re-lit, Brennan is fully focused on reasserting himself as the number one middleweight in Ireland.

Always one step at a time, the Dub outlined how “I was in the High Performance and they’re looking at doing a multi-nations at the end of the year.”

“The goal now is to get on to that team.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie