History of Ireland at the World Amateur Championships

By Bernard O’Neill – IABA Press Officer

Ireland World Championships Medal winners
1982: Munich – Tommy Corr – L/middle (Bronze)
1989: Moscow – Michael Carruth – L/welter (Bronze)
1993: Tampere – Damaen Kelly – Fly (Bronze)
1997: Budapest – Stephen Kirk – L/heavy (Bronze)
2001: Belfast – James Moore – Welter (Bronze)
2009: Milan – John Joe Nevin – Bantam (Bronze)
2011: Baku – John Joe Nevin – Bantam (Bronze)
2013: Almaty – Jason Quigley – Middle (Silver)
2013: Almaty – Joe Ward – L/heavy (Bronze)

Originally a biennial tournament, the AIBA World Men’s Elite Championships is now held every two years, with this year’s event, the 18th edition, to be hosted the first time in the Middle East in Doha, Qatar next month.

The first World Championships was hosted in Havana in 1974. Cuba, then established as a powerhouse in the sport after topping the medals table for the first time at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, won five finals to command pole position in the medals table in Havana. The legendary Teófilo Stevenson-Lawrence claimed the first of his three World titles for Cuba 41 years ago.

Ireland currently lie in 33rd position in the overall medal table since Havana 1974. Nine medals, one silver and eight bronze, have been secured by Irish boxing, which commands 23rd position in the overall Olympic medals table, since Havana 1974.

Tommy Corr secured our first World Elite medal in Munich in 1982, the Irish light-middle winning bouts versus the USA and Poland to reach the last-four where he was beaten by Russia’s eventual gold medalist, Alexandr Koshkin.

Seven years later in Moscow, Michael Carruth lost in the semi-finals to East Germany’s Andreas Otto, a defeat Carruth avenged en route to gold at the 1992 Olympics. The Dubliner beat French and American rivals in Moscow. Current Irish head coach Billy Walsh reached the last-eight in the Russian capital.

Damaen Kelly took home bronze from Tampere, Finland in 1993. The Ulster flyweight was beaten by Cuba’s eventual gold medallist, Waldermar Font, in the last-four. Kelly won three fights against England, USA and Ukraine in Tampere.

Stephen Kirk also won three bouts, the light-heavy ousting opponents from Uzbekistan, Austria and Bulgaria at the 1995 World Championships in Berlin. Kirk was beaten by Russia’s eventual gold medallist, Alexandr Lebziak, in the semi-finals.

James Moore made the semi-finals in Belfast in 2001 in the 67kg class. Moore toppled opponents from Lithuania, Italy and Turkey on his way to the business end of the tournament, but was eliminated by Anthony Thompson of the USA one win away from the gold medal match.

John Joe Nevin became the first Irish male boxer to win two AIBA World Championships medals at Milan 2009 and Baku 2011. The Cavan BC bantam was unlucky to lose 5-4 to Russia’s Eduard Abzalimov, who lost to Bulgaria’s Detelin Dalakliev, who Nevin had beaten previously, in the final. Nevin went out on a countback to Luke Campbell of Team GB, who lost to Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez in the final, two years later. Nevin outclassed Alvarez, then the AIBA World No. 1, in the 2012 Olympic semi-final, but lost to Campbell in the gold medal clash.

Donegal middleweight Jason Quigley made the breakthrough for Ireland at the 2013 World Championships in Kazakhstan after becoming the first Irish male boxer to reach an AIBA Elite final. Joe Ward secured bronze in Central Asia to mark the first occasion that Irish boxing has won two medals at the same World Championships. Quigley, who has since switched codes, was beaten by Kazakhstan’s Zhanibek Alimkhanuly in the 75kg final, while Ward lost to Cuba’s Julio Cesar de la Cruz in the 81kg semi-final.

2015 in Doha
Meanwhile, Team Ireland fly out to Assisi, Italy today for their final training camp before the 2015 World Elite Championships. The Irish squad will train with Italy and Belarus in Assisi and will leave straight for Doha on October 2nd. Boxing begins on October 6th on the Arabian Peninsula.

Brendan Irvine, Michael Conlan – Conlan has already qualified for the Olympic through the World Series of Boxing – Sean McComb, Dean Walsh, Adam Nolan, Michael O’Reilly and Joe Ward will represent Ireland at Doha 2015.

The top ranked boxers in each of the ten weight categories in Doha will secure Olympic places, as below. (The top three positions in the bantam, light, light-welter, welter and middle classes will be distributed to the finalists and the winners of box-offs between the losing semi-finalists).

49kg (top 2)
52kg (top 2)
56kg (top 3)
60kg (top 3)
64kg (top 3)
69kg (top 3)
75kg (top 3)
81kg (top 2)
91kg (Gold)
91kg+ (Gold)

*Katie Taylor has reached five AIBA World Elite Women’s finals and has won five gold medals. Irish women’s boxing, courtesy of Taylor, is in 8th position in the overall AIBA World Elite Women’s Championships medals table since the inaugural tournament in the USA in 2001.*

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