Irish team for World University Boxing Championships

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The Irish Athletic Third-Level Boxing Association have confirmed the Irish team which will compete at the 7th World University Boxing Championships in Chaing Mai, Thailand.

Only two Irish boxers, Eamonn O’Kane and Cathal McMonagle at the inaugural edition in 2004, have ever represented Ireland in the Championships, but the IATBA will send a five-strong squad to South-East Asia next month.

The squad will be comprised of:
51kg Ceire Smith – Cavan BC & DCU
60kg Gary McKenna – Old School BC Monaghan & University of Ulster Jordanstown
75kg Christina Desmond – Fr Horgans & LIT
75kg Conor Wallace – St Monica’s Newry & Southern Regional College, Newry
91kg Kenneth Okungbowa – Athlone BC & AIT

While the championships are not a regular on the Irish circuit, they feature a top-quality field and are a major date in the calendars of some top boxing nations such as Kazakhstan, Russia, and Mongolia.

The Irish squad has some big experience major tournament experience with Ceire Smith being a fixture in the Women’s team in recent years, Christina Desmond finishing fourth at the 2014 Youth Olympics, and Gary McKenna featuring at the 2014 EUs.

Okungbowa has been a fixture on the Irish senior circuit for the past half a decade, losing in the 2015 and 2011 finals.

Conor Wallace also had some experience of a different sort during the Summer when he relocated to Las Vegas for two months to help MMA star Conor McGregor prepare for his successful rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC202.

All five however will be looking for their first major senior international medals.

The Championships begin on Monday October 3rd.

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