Late notice no problem for Tokyo medal hope McGivern

Top Pro Gif Ad
Belfast bantamweight James McGivern was one of the stars of the show on Friday night at the National Stadium.

The 18 year old gave an exhibition in how to hit and not be hit against Russian Roman Podoprigora in a Test International at the home of Irish boxing, impressing the knowledgeable boxing crowd in attendance.

Afterwards the St George’s ABC teenager spoke to and described the temporary step up to Senior level as being “grand aye, I’m well used to it sparring with the likes of Michael [Conlan] and sparring the other Seniors like Kurt Walker.”

Amazingly, McGivern was only given the call to box at one o’clock that afternoon and it was the first time he had stepped foot in the ring since the European Youth Championships last month.

It was no issue to the youngster who said that “I’m very glad I got to come down”

“It’s great to be on the same bills, and to have my name on the same cards as them, to have Zaur in my corner, it’s quite humbling to be honest.”

“Great to get my face out there for hopefully next year breaking onto the Senior team.”

One of the hottest prospects in Irish boxing, McGivern won Youth Commonwealth gold and Youth European silver last year – despite being a year too young for the category.

Going forward, McGivern has a busy 2016, and outlined how “I’m away to America on the 2nd of August for a show [with the Belfast Beltway Project], and then down in Dublin in late August for the Under-18s [Youths], then the Worlds in November in Russia.”

A return to Russia, the scene of his despicable loss in the opening round of this years European Youths, would be a worry for anyone, and he admits that “it’s always hard to get a decision in Russia, especially when you’re fighting a Russian.

Referring to his ‘loss’ to home fighter Vladimir Strygin, McGivern explains that “I’m still trying to get over it, every time you watch it it’s hard to see what the judges saw there.”

However, the South Belfast fighter refuses to be disheartened, and notes how “I’ll take it on the chin and get on with it and hopefully we’ll meet again in the Worlds and I can get one over on him.”

Spoken very highly of in boxing circles, many have pinpointed McGivern as a medal hope for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, and he himself agrees, telling how “from last year and the Youth Commonwealth Games we’ve been tasking towards it, 2018 and the Commonwealth Games, then Tokyo – the big one.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: