Bobbi Flood joined an exclusive Irish club when he had his hand raised after the European Youth Championship light middleweight final in Sofia on Thursday.
The Cabra BC fighter’s impressive displays in his first international tournament and final victory over Italian Gabriele Rontani Guidi saw him become only the fifth male Irish fighter to win European gold at the age-grade.
The 17-year-old Dublin talent and breakout star of the tournament follows in the podium-topping footsteps of Cathal O’Grady, Jason Quigley, Gary Cully, and Michael Nevin – all of whom have gone to achieve major success as senior boxers.
Before Flood, Michael Nevin was the most recent male fighter to puff his chest out whilst Amhrán Na bhFiann played at a European Youth medal ceremony.
Part of a team which claimed a total of five medals – silvers for James McGivern and Stevie McKenna and bronzes for John Joyce and Willie Donoghue – Nevin stood alone at the top of the podium.
The Portlaoise fighter completed a hat-trick of European underage golds when he claimed welterweight gold in Poland in 2015. This win, which was also as a first-year Youth like Flood, came following Junior success in 2014 and a Schoolboys gold in 2012.
24 next month, the now-middleweight talent was literally just two wins away from becoming an Olympian but the European Games bronze medal winner mysteriously decided to withdraw from the ongoing qualifiers. The cited reason was that he was turning pro but he is yet to debut or even announce a team.
In 2013, Gary Cully, another first-year Youth, was celebrating in similar fashion to Flood.
Then a flyweight the Kildare fighter claimed gold at the European Youth Championships in Rotterdam.
The Nass southpaw, who was at St David’s BC at the time, beat Masud Yusifzada of Azerbaijan on a unanimous decision in the final.
Olympian Kurt Walker also reached the decider stage of that tournament but was edged out in his bid for gold by Yusfzada’s compatriot Nasraddin Mammadov.Mammadov won on a split decision after a very close 56kg decider.
Cully also scooped the Best Boxer Award at the Championships which featured 220 athletes. The Sarto stylist is now a pro of real note and looks on the verge of making world level moves.
Jason Quigley is a pro who has fought at world level having challenged for the WBO middleweight world title and, like Flood, he too was a European Youth gold medal winner.
The Donegal favourite was crowned European Youth welterweight champion in Szezecin, Poland in 2009. The then Finn Valley clubman beat Emil Ahmadov of Azerbaijan 6-1 over four, two minute rounds to finish on top of the podium in the 69Kg class.
In a double celebration Quigley also scooped the best technical boxer of the tournament award and he would go on to claim a further two continental golds – at U23 level in 2012 and at Elite level in 2013.
Finally, there was the man who did it first – Kildare’s Cathal O Grady. He won heavyweight gold in Hungary in 1995, ripping through the field with three stoppages in four fights.
Still a teenager, he would represent Ireland in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Moving into the pros young, O’Grady turned over with Brian Peters and Frank Warren to some fanfare when he was just 20, but had to retire four years later under medical advice.
A giant of a figure on the Irish boxing scene, O’Grady is now the man behind whitecollarboxing.ie and recently overcame mouth cancer.