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Jack McGivern battled illness and rivals to win Ulster Elite title

Jack McGivern was willing to take a sledgehammer flush on the chin to get his hands on a first Ulster Elite title, so a chest infection wasn’t going to stop him from fighting.

The St George’s southpaw claimed the Ulster title at 63.5kg’s last week, beating Anthony Malanaphy to finish top of the pile in the prestigious provisional competition.

The Most Improved Young Boxer winner, also had battle a chest infection en route to the decider and but for his fighting spirit may have been pulled out of a competition he was determined to win.

McGivern reveals he was so ill throughout the tournament that his team didn’t want him to compete and requested he withdraw, only for him to stubbornly refuse.

With the Commonwealth Games just around the corner, the younger brother of professional prospect James McGivern was never not going to compete.

“My Daddy and Danso were actually gonna’ pull me out of the final but I insisted on boxing because of the opportunity of the Commonwealth Games. I wasn’t going to put in a doctors letter and let my chance of selection hang in the balance,” he told before suggesting the illness prevented him from producing his best.

“I could barely get out of first gear in the tournament but I got there in the end.”

The Commonwealth Games which are set for Birmingham and next summer was a huge motivating factor for the young talent but so too was a defeat to Daryl Clarke in last year’s Ulster final.

The St Georges’s fighter, who also beat Jon McConnell and Robbie Gould in the tournament, was hurt by last year’s decider reverse and was determined to etch his name on a famous Ulster Elite roll of honour.

“It’s amazing to be Ulster Elite Champion, all the hard work has paid off. I look around my club and see so many photos of Ulster Senior Champions and now I’ve put my name up there with them.

“It’s extra special after the year me and my family have had. It’s great to round the year off on a high.

“The work I’ve put in this year is immense, I said to my father I was not getting beat this year no matter what. The night of the finals the fella could have had a sledgehammer and I still would have one, I learned from my mistakes last year and I wasn’t letting that happen again,” he adds before revealing how his brother congratulated him on his success.

“The first thing he said was it’s about time you f**king done it, the motivation he gave me the whole way through helped a lot, and knowledge he has was brilliant in the corner.”

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: