Focused Frankie Cleary ready for Elites following “stepping stone” Irish title

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There was no final knockout for Frankie ‘Hitman’ Cleary on Friday, but the Galway lightweight did walk away with the National Senior (Intermediate) lightweight title. Cleary took on Dylan Duffy from the Pegasus club in Downpatrick

The Olympic BC fighter came out like a man possessed against the Ballymote slickster, throwing bombs from the off, with his whistling shots echoing around the National Stadium like incoming mortars.

Duffy counter-punched well at times and stayed out of range as best he could, but the relentless Cleary won out in the end, taking a unanimous decision after three rounds of action in one of the highest quality bouts of the night.

Afterwards the fan-friendly fighter spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and admitted that he was not expecting a third knockout in a row. Cleary explained that “I knew when I saw him boxing at the start of the championship that he wouldn’t be that easy. He’s a very very good boxer and if the shot had have came where I could knock him out, I would, but he was a tricky opponent and he kept on the move.”

There were no crazy celebrations for the youngster who, despite his ferocity inside it, is quite unassuming outside of the ring. Cleary noted that he is not at his desired destination yet, and stressed that “my main target is the Elites, this is all a work in progress for the Elites, this is only a stepping stone up into the Elites and I’m looking forward to it.”

Coach Mike Mongan paid credit to his fighter, and described how “Frankie, like most boxers in the club, makes my job easy. He does what he is asked then he does more on top of that. I couldn’t ask for any more.”

“I’m delighted for him, and it’s been a fantastic week all round for Olympic BC.”

Like Cleary, Mongan acknowledges the bigger picture at play, and outlined how “this championship was the pinnacle for Frankie after coming back from the European Youths last year, this was our aim, and it sets us up for the under-22s and the Elite Championships.”

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