A freak foot injury has ruled Brendan Irvine out of the European Games which glove off in Minsk this coming Friday.
The Belfast fighter was set to represent Ireland in the flyweight division in Belarus, but suffered injury in sparring.
The heartbreaking injury occurred only two weeks ago when Team Ireland took part in a University of Ulster hosted training camp where they sparred fighters from India, Italy, Romania, Netherlands and USA.
‘Wee Rooster’ was initially hopeful he could recover in time for only the second installment of the European Games, but was in no fit state to compete and didn’t fly with the squad today.
“I was sparring two Saturdays ago and that’s when it happened. I got an MRI on Tuesday and then the results came back and I was sent to see a foot specialist for a CT scan,” he explained.
“The ball of my foot, every time I’m putting weight on it, it was just too sore. It felt like my foot was going to snap.”
“I was flying in the camp, everything was going so well, my hand was feeling good, I was sparring good… it’s just unfortunate.
“It was basically like a freak accident.”
The St Paul’s talent won a silver at the 2015 installment of the Olympic-style tournament. That victory was the catalyst to Irvine eventually qualifying for the Olympic Games via the European Olympic Qualifiers the following year.
Irvine is the second withdrawal from the Irish team following Joe Ward’s move to the pros.
Like with Ward, no replacement will be sent.
Galway’s Adam Hession is the reigning Irish Elite champion.
Eleven Irish boxers – four female and seven male – will now line out in Minsk.
The European Games will feature more than 4,000 athletes from 50 countries competing across 200 events.
The competition runs from June 21 to 30 and will feature 15 sports, eight of which are part of the Tokyo 2020 qualification process.
Team Ireland Boxing:
57kg Michaela Walsh Monkstown A)
60kg Kellie Harrington (St Marys)
69kg Gráinne Walsh (Sparticus)
75kg Aoife O’Rourke (Castlerea)
49kg Regan Buckley (St Teresas)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal)
64kg James McGivern (St George’s)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)
75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)
91kg Tony Browne (St Michael’s Dublin)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team manager: Bernard Dunne
Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan, Dmitry Dimitruk