A seven-strong Irish team are out in Valladolid and this morning’s draw, a tough one, has three Irish boxers in action in preliminary bouts this afternoon.
Belfast bantamweight Conor Quinn makes his major tournament debut and faces a tough fight against top Bulgarian Tinko Banabakov. The 24-year-old was twice beaten by Brendan Irvine at light flyweight and won European bronze at this weight in 2015 before moving up to 52kg this year.
Lisburn bantamweight Kurt Walker also faces a Bulgarian, going up against the experienced Stefan Ivanov who has competed at the European Games and Championships as well as the World Championships.
At super heavy, Tipperary’s Dean Gardiner is another with a tough draw, going in first with England’s Frazer Clarker. The giant Burton boxer is reigning Commonwealth and EU champion and won silver last year at the Europeans and team captain Gardiner will need to be on top form..
First up today (all times Irish time) is Quinn at 3:45pm, followed by Walker at 4:30pm, and Gardiner at 5:00pm.
Today’s fights will be streamed live here:
”All boxers are in great spirits and looking forward to the start of the championships tomorrow,” said Irish team manager Stephen Molloy.
John Conlan, who will be working Ireland’s corner with Eoin Pluck, said that “I think there’s potential for everyone to do well. But it will be very strongly contested given the strength of boxing in Europe.”
52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard BC)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal BC)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise BC)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard BC)
75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise BC)
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield BC)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel BC) Captain
Team Manager: Stephen Molloy
Coaches: John Conlan & Eoin Pluck
Physiotherapist: Seamus Caffrey
Team Doctor: Jim Clover- Team Doctor
Sports Physiologist: Damian Martin
Referee & Judge: Jim Murrin