Dean Clancy surprised most and shocked himself with his European Under-22 victory in Italy last week.
As a two-time underage European silver medal winner, the Sligo native would have been deemed a podium hope going into the under-22 continental tournament.
However, there were enough caveats to suggest securing that medal would need a special performance or two – and considering he was moving up two weights and fighting for the first time in over a year, it was agreed he would need sensational innings to win gold.
The teen managed to deal with the step up in weight – and class – to produce in that sensational fashion.
It was pleasent surprise for those who expected Clancy’s international impact to come a little further down the line – and a shock to the fighter himself.
“I went out to this tournament, especially after moving up two weight classes, just to perform and see how far I could go. I definitely shocked myself how good each performance was,” he told Irish-boxing.com before revealing his delight with how he has adjusted to life at light welter.
“I feel moving up two weight divisions was definitely the best decision of my career. I feel much stronger at this class and I feel like my speed is still too much for people.”
2020 Elite featherweight champion Clancy had twice threatened to be crowned the best in his age category and weight but lost in both the European Youth and European Junior finals. Those two near misses made this gold medal win all the more special and in keeping with the shock team, Clancy still can’t believe he finally managed to finish top of the podium.
“I still can’t believe it, especially after falling short in two finals. It’s a dream come true to finally being crowned champion of Europe. It was definitely a surreal experience getting over the line and securing the gold.”
Clancy was confirmed European champion in the ring after his proposed decider opponent, Ahmad Shtiwi of Israel, didn’t make the ring walk.
Dean Clancy is U22 European Boxing Champion in bizzare circumstances.
Gold coming home to Sligo well done Dean🥊🥇 pic.twitter.com/tC876xY9Wb
— The Sligo Way Podcast (@SligoWayPod) June 24, 2021
The Sligo 19-year-old admits it wasn’t the ideal way to win the tournament but one of the tournament’s standout operators was confident the outcome would have been the same regardless.
“I was very shocked at what happened before the final, slightly disappointed too to be honest, but you can tell when you watch it back I’m full of mixed emotions. I was very confident I could beat the Israeli fighter, as I’d four tough fights and was only gaining confidence and momentum with each fight and win.”