The Holy Trinity BC in Belfast were within touching distance of at least two bronze medals at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Damaen Kelly, a bronze medal winner at the 1993 AIBA World Championships in Finland and a bronze medal winner at the 1996 European Championships in Denmark, which qualified him for Atlanta, along with Brian Magee, a silver medal winner at the 1998 European Championships in Belarus, both reached the quarter-finals in the USA, but both lost out one bout away from securing a semi-final spot and at least a bronze medal each.
Kelly fought his way past Bulgarian flyweight Julian Strogov and Hussein Hussein of Algeria only to lose 13-6 to Bolat Dzumadilov of Kazakhstan. Dzumadilov reached the 51kg final in Atlanta but was edged out on a 12-11 decision to Cuba’s Maikro Romero for the gold.
Magee, trading leather at middleweight, ousted Canada’s Randall Thompson and Betrand Tetsia of the Cameroon before losing (15-9) to Mohamed Bahari of Algeria.
Galway’s Francis Barrett, who was selected as Irish flag bearer for the opening ceremony at in Atlanta, recorded a phenomenal win over Zely Ferreria on his Olympic debut, but went out of the tournament to Fethi Missaoui of Tunisia on an 18-6 verdict. Missaoui reached the semi-finals, guaranteeing himself bronze.
St Saviours OBA heavyweight Cathal O’Grady went out to New Zealand’s Garth Da Silva in his opening bout.
Cuba once again finished on top of the medals table at an Olympiad after securing four gold medals.
On January 1st, 1996, AIBA introduced a Competition Record Book. It was made compulsory for all boxers to produce theirs to compete in AIBA competition.
The upper age limit was raised from 32 to 34 years on the back of improved safety measures introduced to protect boxers’ health.
Women’s boxing was recognised, but they’d have to wait 16 years until they were allowed trade leather at the Olympics.
Flyweight: Damaen Kelly (Holy Trinity)
Beat Julian Strogov (Bulgaria) 12-11
Beat Hussein Hussein (Australia) 27-20
Lost to Bolat Dzumadilov (Kazakhstan) 6-13
Light-welterweight: Francis Barrett (Olympic)
Beat Zely Ferreria (Brazil) 32-7
Lost to Fethi Missaoui (Tunisia) 6-18
Middleweight: Brian Magee (Holy Trinity)
Beat Randall Thompson (Canada) 13-5
Beat Bertrand Tetsia (Cameroon) 11-6
Lost Mohamed Bahari (Algeria) 9-15
Heavyweight: Cathal O’Grady (St Saviours)
Lost to Garth Da Silva (New Zealand) TKO1