Elite Senior champion at lightweight last year, the rangy Bates has moved up to light welter following the 60kg division’s removal from the Olympic roster and now feels perfectly places to do damage.
Having beaten Michael Avetisian and Keith Flavin, Bates now faces Belfast’s James McGivern, a fellow lightweight emigrant, in the 63kg decider, live on TG4.
Speaking to Irish-Boxing.com ahead of the decider, a fit and strong Bates described how the weight change “worked out.”
“When I heard about the weights I moved up straight away, I wasn’t hanging around at 60kg.”
“I feel good, I’m hitting a bit harder at the moment as well and I have the boxing ability.”
“I was at 69kg after last year but it’s much easier coming down, I’m walking around at 63kg at the minute.”
McGivern did not compete with Bates last year due to his Commonwealth Games commitments and the St George’s talent comes this year with a lot of backing following an outstanding underage career, Commonwealth bronze, and two Ulster Senior titles.
Bates, though, is not an amateur anorak and admits that “I don’t know him at all.”
“I’ve heard a lot of people mention his name but names don’t count in the boxing ring. It’s whoever performs on the day.
“I just focus on myself, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what people are saying. It’s one against one.”
“I’ve always been a target, I’ve always been in the finals, I won every Irish title out there. I’m always there or thereabouts.”
The St Mary’s boxer got a taste of Elite internationals last year but missed out on 2018’s major competition, the EU Championships.
However, Bates intends to be on the plane for all the big ones this year should he defeat McGivern.
The 25-year-old explained how “I went to America and then went to the Chemistry Cup and won bronze but, for the Golden Belt and the EU Championships, I had to go to college in Tallaght IT.”
“We’ve the World Championships and the European Games this year, that’s my main goal, that’s always been my main goal.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)