JP Hale wants to end a year of firsts by finishing first in his first-ever World Championships.
The 20-year-old won his first National Elite title when he defeated Dominic Bradley in the 60kg weight class at the National Stadium earlier this month. That TG4 broadcast win saw him become Star ABC’s first Senior champ in 23 years and he has since become the first EVER Star man to be selected on an Irish World Championships team.
Now he wants to continue the run of firsts by winning a medal in Belgrade next month. Hale is aware he faces a mammoth step up but he is aiming high.
“My goals in Belgrade is to do my best, learn as much as possible and win gold,” he tells Irish-boxing.com before reflecting on his recent achievements.
“It feels amazing being the first Star champ in so long. I’ve been at the club since I was 7 and it was an emotional win in at elites because I wanted it so bad and so did my club. My coach says I’m the first in the star to go to the World Championships, another honour.”
Hale isn’t surprised at being deemed Ireland’s #1 60kg fighter, but the former Irish Fight of the Year winner reveals there is was an element of surprise surrounding his selection.
He explains: “It feels amazing getting selected as they said they were not sending anyone to the Worlds, then they saw us spar and must’ve got second thoughts. It feels amazing to represent my country for the second time. All I was doing was training, sparring and working hard and they asked me to go to the worlds I was buzzing,” he adds before reflecting on a Sheffield sparring camp that saw him share the ring with the best Britian and France have to offer.
“Sheffield was amazing I never got to experience something like that ,I got 20-25 rounds of sparring with the best in the world.”