In just over one year Gabriel Dossen has gone from underdog to big dog.
Last year the Galway fighter came from nowhere to claim his first and second Irish titles before winning a sensational bronze at the World Youth Championships.
Now in his second year at under-18 level, Dossen has stepped up in weight to welter and won another Irish title on Friday night at the National Stadium.
In what was a rematch of their semi final last year, Dossen defeated Limerick’s Jason Harty via split decision (4-1) in an incredibly cagey contest which the Rathkeale boxer believed he won.
Dossen started relatively slow but, following a talking-to in the corner from coach Mike Mongan, he would be a lot sharper in the second and third and took the win on the cards.
Looking back on the fight, the Olympic BC talent told Irish-Boxing.com that “I came out the first round and, I don’t know, I didn’t push as hard in the first round, he was catching me. Then Mike told me what to do, I had a good gameplan set.”
“The second round, I just did what Mike told me to do and when I came into the corner I just knew his expression was different from the first round, I knew I was winning.”
“The second round I was flying, I kept calm, whereas in the first round I was pushing myself and trying too hard. After that I just relaxed, calm, long boxing.”
“I know Harty, I’d been sparring him, I know what he’s like, but I couldn’t take him for granted because he’s a very good boxer, very good talent.”
Of the boxers who are competing in their second year at under-18 level, Dossen stands out as the one who has physically developed the most. Now up at 69kg, the Knocknacarra youngster cuts an imposing figure.
Dossen described how “I’m feeling very strong and I’m making the weight easy as well. I’m building into it and after this now it’s a big focus on strength and conditioning for the Europeans.”
“I feel bigger at the weight and I’ve punching power.””
It’s all a bit different for Dossen who is now firmly established as one of the hottest talents on the island. The Irish-Boxing.com 2016 Young Boxer of the Year acknowledges it is a big change from his under the radar days, but Dossen has taken it in his stride.
“It’s harder,” the 17 year old admits. “Back then I had nothing to lose. Now it’s totally different, I’ve been on a winning streak for two years. It motivates me.”
“Mike was telling me, no one out here is as good as me, I’m progressing every year.”
“I can’t wait to go to the Europeans now and I think I’ll do better.”
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey speak to Jason Quigley on Episode 5 of The Irish Boxing Show: