One of the biggest days of the Irish amateur boxing calendar is upon us.
The National Elite SEMI FINALS take place in Dublin this evening with 18 bouts to be contested in the National Stadium.
A host of fighters secured finals night slots with wins at the home of Irish boxing last weekend and no fewer than 36 will fight to join them tonight.
There are interesting clashes across there [Here are Five we felt stood out] and so much at stake considering the IABA confirmed this tournament will play a part in Olympic qualifying selection.
We will be watching each and every bout posting updates on each of them as the night progresses.
Refresh page to see live updates below:
57kg Paul Loonam (St Carthages) beat Adam Hession (Monivea)
What a fight to start with – and what a fight to start with.
Paul Looman won a fast-paced talent-packed clash of two under-age European Champions with senior credentials.
It was tit for tat throughout and the papable nerves from both sets of supporters come decision reveal time was proof no one was confident which way it would go.
In the end the Offally fighter, who is making his debut at the level, got the nod 4-1 and moves will fight for the Irish title tomorrow.
Loonam was more regular with the backhand and boasted a solid jab and that probably got him the nod over the talented two time Elite champ.
57kg Sean Purcell (Saviours Crystal) beat Jordan Smith (Holy Family L)
The ‘Prince’ is one win away from being crowned domestic King.
Saviours Cyrstal’s Purcell won the second fight of the night to set up an interesting final with Paul Loonam.
Holy Family’s Smith actually started the contest the better and seemed to find his range in the first round. Purcell made the required changes in the second and started to get big shots off.
One of said shots landed clean on the Drogheda fighter’s cheek, opened a cut and forced the officials to call a halt to proceedings.
Davey Joyce (Holy Family L) beats 60kg Bayo Alabi (Westside)
Davey Joyce will fight for Elite National honours for the second time tomorrow night after victory in an entertaining clash of styles.
The 2019 Elite Champ claimed a split-decision 4-1 win over new to the level Bayo Alabi.
‘BA’ wasn’t phased facing a former champ, who courted interest from pro promoters, and was full of industry and effort for three rounds.
Indeed, he landed some big eye-catching shots not least a huge overhand right that prompted the first crowd reaction of the night in the last.
However, the latest ‘DOJ’ on the scene could be physically imposing himself while being that bit slicker. Joyce was crisp, clean and clinical but did get chin checked.
60kg Jason Nevin (Olympic L) beat Rhys Owens (Erne)
We have a Nevin versus Joyce 60kg final.
Jason Nevin secured passage into the decider where he will meet a fellow talent from a famous boxing family David Joyce.
Nevin of Olympic Mullingar pipped Rhys Owens 3-2 after another enthralling fight.
There was an element of ‘what you like’ about this one with Owens’s pressure approach gelling well with the panache play of Nevin.
The Erne fighter kept pressing and working for nine minutes, producing a work rate that had the teen out on his feet in the last minute. Nevin produced the crisper work and his moments on top seemed bigger, probably getting him the nod. His dip and whip to the body also allowed him to score when under pressure at times.
63.5kg Brandon McCarthy (St Michaels L) beats Aaron O’Donohue (G. Gloves/DF)
Disaster! A clash of heads and a cut over Brandon McCarthy’s eye bring this semi-final to a halt early in the second round.
McCarthy maintains his 100 percent National record by virtue of winning the first round 4-0. O’Donohue’s team were upset with the result and the Cork native did give a good account of himself.
The question now is will McCarthy be able to compete in the final?
63.5kg Dean Clancy (Sean McDermott) beats John Paul Hale (Star A)
It lived up to its billing!
A semi-final with the perfect blend of fight and flair. There were eye-catching combinations and eye-watering clean power shots sprinkled throughout.
The bigger single shots came from the Antrim man, who landed heavy in the last minute, but it seems the judges like the more explosive work of Clancy.
The three-time underage European Champion, who beat Hale en route to 57kg Elite success in 2019, produced punches in quality-packed bunches, which impressed four of the five judges.
Neither had massive support but such was the quality of the fight that a neutral Stadium showed its appreciation in loud applause.
Interestingly enough depending on how bad McCarthy’s cut is Clancy may have won himself the title with that performance.
67kg Eugene McKeever (Holy Family L) beat Wayne Kelly (Ballynacargy)
It was repeat rather than revenge in this old-school battle.
Eugene McKeever got the better of Wayne Kelly at the National Stadium for the second time running.
The Holy Family fighter seems to have found a home at the weight and progressed to the decider by beating a former Elite Champion in a repeat of the 2021 final.
67kg Ryan McCarthy (Fr Horgans) beat Cian Reddy (Portlaoise)
Not the prettiest of fights but enthralling in its own way. Tight and tense throughout, Reddy started the better but eventually got drawn into McCarthy’s fight.
The Cork fighter backed up his desire and pressure with a smart tactical shift in the last round securing passage to the final as a result.
The Father Horgan’s fighter now fights reigning champion Eugene McKeever in Saturday’s decider.71kg
71kg Jon McConnell (Holy Trinity) beats Matthew McCole (Illies GG)
What started out as a bit of a chess match between two long fighters warmed into an entertaining fight after both were warned in the second round.
Ultimately it was checkmate McConnell.
How hard it was to score was reflected in the fact it was a 3-2 split, the cleaner work of McConnell ultimately preferred to the higher output of the Donegal man.
McConnell is now into the final where he fights a Walsh. Which one? We can’t wait to find out!
Dean Walsh (St Ibars/Josephs) beats 71kg Aidan Walsh (Emerald A)
The redemption story continues.
Dean Walsh wrote another interesting chapter in his storied career by defeating Olympic medal winner Aidan Walsh at the Stadium.
The Commonwealth Games gold medal winner was at his balletic best in the second round but his opponent from St Ibars/Josephs had the antidote to his winning formula in moments during rounds one and three.
They were still close stanzas with both showing real quality but rounds that enough judges scored the way of the Wexford man.
The comeback isn’t complete just yet as Dean Walsh still has a final to win.
75kg Joshua Olaniyan (Jobstown) beat Eoghan Lavin (Ballyhaunis)
Joshua Olaniyan won the teen this tussle.
One of two Tallaght talents from the same household claimed a 4-1 split in his first-ever senior Elite fight.
Olaniyan had to work for his win but did manage to dish out a standing eight in the last round and deservedly progresses.
Olaniyan and his club Jobstown are now one-for-one at the level and can now boast a 100 percent National Elite record.
75kg Christopher O’Reilly (Holy Family L) beats Gavin Rafferty (Dublin Docklands)
The kind of gritty and good-for-the-soul fight the Stadium loves – just like we predicted.
A well-supported no-holds-barred bout keenly contested from start to finish.
It was revenge in the rematch of the Senior [Intermediate] final with O’Reilly getting the nod 3-2 this time around.
Anytime there was distance between the two Rafferty dominated and reigned down shots of note, but once he got inside O’Reilly was able to unleash, the Holy Family fighter also enjoyed whipping in a long left hook from distance.
O’Reilly versus Olaniyan should make for good viewing.
80kg Jason Clancy (Sean McDermott) W/O
80kg Kelyn Cassidy (Saviours Crystal) beat Brian Kennedy (St Mary’s/DF)
The growth of Kelyn Cassidy was visible in this semi-final victory.
Brian Kennedy marched forward from the first bell and asked questions of the Waterford fighter. The St Saviours Crystal had all the answers and boxed brilliantly. He countered with a slick assurance throughout and had the superior ring generalship.
Indeed, Cassidy had the kind of confident air that comes with being the reigning champion, appearing at the Worlds, and being a High-Performance athlete.
86kg Kane Tucker (Emerald A) beat Kyle Roche (St Michaels NR)
Bombs away! Big shots fired and shipped by both these fighters.
Kane Tucker had to earn his first-ever National Elite Championship final place.
The Emerald fighter dealt with an aggressive, big-punching Kyle Roche to win a 4-1 split decision.
The decorated underage graduate, who lost to Darren O’Neill in 2021, is now one win away from adding an Elite title to his list of honours.
92kg Jack Marley (Monkstown D) beats Wayne Rafferty (Dublin Docklands)
Jack Marley loves screwdrivers and winning at the National Stadium.
The European Under-22 gold medal winner moved a step closer to making it back-to-back senior titles with victory in a fight that was more entertaining than it was supposed to be.
The Monkstown fighter looked capable of a Dublin derby demolition with a fast start but Rafferty grew into the fight and had success in the second.
Marley still managed to hurt his foe in that middle stanza but the Dublin Dockland’s fighter recovered quick enough to call for more.
A bit of a war broke out in the final three minutes and the Stadium showed their approval rising to their feet on the final bell.
92kg Patrick Ward (Olympic C) WO
92+kg William J McCartan (Gilford) beat Daniel Fakoyede (Westside)
Not one for the purists but a brilliantly entertaining slugfest nonetheless.
Willie Joe McCartan Daniel Fakoyede had an Elite baptism of fire and makes the astonishing leap from Ulster Novice Champion to National Elite finalist.
92+kg Gytis Lisinskas (Celtic Eagles) beat Keith McEneaney (Dealgan)
Gytis Lisinskas was the last winner of an entertaining night.
The Galway fighter showed great shot selection and a nice skillset en route to the final.
McEneaney was bullish from start to finish and continued to march forward despite taking some serious body shots. In fact, he did enough to win the fight on one card. Although the Celtic Eagles fighter was deserved winner and looks our best hope on the international stage.
That’s us for tonight. It’s on to finals night now.