Irish coach aims to lead African country to Tokyo Olympics

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Top Offaly coach Liam Brereton will be looking to make it to the Olympics this summer but it won’t be in the corner of Irish boxers.

The AIBA Three-Star coach, boss at St Brigid’s Edenderry, has joined up with the Sierra Leone National Team ahead of the qualifiers for the Games in Tokyo.

Brereton has been ratified by the African nation’s governing body and will immediately get to work as they look to qualify their first fighter since Beijing 2008.

The current leading light for Sierra Leone is the Canada-based lightweight Deedra Chestnut who has been a frequent visitor to Ireland for Brereton’s all-female sparring camps at St Brigid’s Edenderry.

Beyond this, there are a number of fighters from the Western African nation that will be hopeful of fighting in Tokyo.

In terms of qualification, first up is the African Continental Qualifier in nearby Senegal which begin this Thursday [February 20th].

Then there will be the World qualifier in Paris this May where the Sierra Leoneans could face Irish boxers.

Brereton and St Brigid’s boxer Lauren Kelly who has won three European underage medals

If they can qualify a boxer, Brereton would not be the first man from his immediate family to feature at ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. His brother, Martin, fought at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow where he went out to eventual bronze medallist Jose Aguilar of Cuba.

Brereton is the latest top Irish coach to expand their horizons following Billy Walsh’s much-publicised move to the USA and Eddie Bolger’s link-up with Germany.

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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