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‘I will show why I’m the best light welter in the country’ – Olympic driven Wayne Kelly confident of beating buddy Bates

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Wayne Kelly is ready to beat his ‘good buddy’ Georges Bates, prove he is Ireland’s Elite light welter and get the Olympic wheels rolling on Friday night. 

The 2018 champion lost at the semi final stage of the blue ribbon domestic tournament in February, exiting stage left at the gloves of eventual Champ James McGivern. 

However, after beating Michael Avetisian in Monday’s semi final the Westmeath man claims he is back at the stage he belongs and is confident he will reclaim a crown he believes is rightfully his. 

“It’s always great getting to an Irish final in the National Stadium and it’s like I never left. This is where I belong and Friday I will show why I’m the best light welter in the country,” Kelly told

To be crowned champion again, Kelly will have to overcome close friend and beaten February finalist, Bates. 

The Portlaoise BC puncher expects a tough fight from the St Mary’s man, but is confident of victory.

“Myself and George are good buddies, we trained a lot together in the High Performance so we are familiar with each other,” he adds.

“I’m sure we will both bring our A-game on the night and will have a cracking fight. May the best man win,” he continues before expressing his confidence.

“I am very confident. I had a great camp in preparation for this competition thanks to Pat Ryan, Portlaoise Boxing Club, my Dad and Grandad.”

The 2018 champion is hopeful victory on Friday will start a process that will see him realize his Olympic dream. The most recent champion McGivern will no doubt be in the equation and a box off may be called for, but Kelly is hopeful another Irish title win will be enough to ensure he is sent to the first of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers.

“I hope to go and qualify in London at the European Olympic qualifiers in March and bring home a medal on top of that. Then it’s all to play for in Tokyo at the Games against the best in the world. I believe my national and club coaches can help me achieve all my goals and dreams.”


Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: