Ireland name strong squad for Chemistry Cup


The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) have named a nine-strong squad for the Chemistry Cup in Halle, Germany, which glove off tomorrow.

Triple European Elite champion Joe Ward lines out at light-heavy looking for his third Chemistry Cup Au, while Commonwealth silver and European bronze medallist Kurt Walker is in at bantam.

Seven reigning national Elite champions round out the team – youngster Conor Quinn, experienced duo George Bates and Wayne Kelly, teenage hotshots Kieran Molloy and Michael Nevin, busy big man Kirill Afanasev and veteran Dean Gardiner.

Now boxing out of Sparticus in Offaly following the closure of Moate BC, Ward could meet Julio La Cruz in Halle as the Olympic champion has been named on the Cuban panel for the 45th edition of the tournament.

Representing the British Lionhearts, Ward topped the World Series of Boxing regular season Individual rankings ahead of second place La Cruz this season, but the Cuban beat the Westmeath southpaw in the 2017 and 2015 World finals and the 2013 semis.

Ward was due to box in the WSB play-offs but was a late withdrawal.

IABA High Performance Director Bernard Dunne believes that the tournament will be an ideal test.

“The Chemistry Cup is a top tournament. It going to be tough as there will be world class athletes there,” said Dunne.

“We’re sending a full team. It’s all about development and about getting ready for Olympic qualification tournaments.”

Head coach Zaur Antia and coaches Michael Carruth, the 1992 Olympic champion, Philip Keogh and Paul Thompson will be working Ireland’s corner in Germany
Boxing begins on Wednesday in Halle.

45th Chemistry Cup Halle, Germany June 19/24

52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal)
60kg George Bates (St Mary’s)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)
75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)
81kg Joe Ward (Sparticus)
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)

Head coach: Zaur Antia
Coahes: Michael Carruth, Philip Keogh, Paul Thompson

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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