National Elite Championship’s Return – IABA Confirm Dates and Training Guidelines

The IABA today confirmed details for the 2021 National Elite Championships.

The Irish amateur blue ribbon tournament will take place as soon as next month and will run from September 17 to the first weekend of October.

The last installment of the premier Irish amateur contest played out in November of 2019. The Pandemic ruined plans to crown 2020 champions as a number of proposed dates fell through.

There were plans to run the tournament over a week in early January but again lockdown made that impossible, before April hopes were also scuppered.


However, we are set for a return of the flagship contest with the Elites now set for September.

The time frame suggests it may be too early for the current crop of Olympians but it should prove an entertaining contest nonetheless.

The IABA also confirmed fighters registered to compete in the Elites can part take in group training and sparring outdoors.

An IABA Circular communicated as much today:

The IABA are delighted to announce that Sport Ireland and the Return to Sport Expert Group have agreed to allow the staging of our flagship event, the National Elite Senior Championships. The National Elite Senior Championships 2021 are now provisionally scheduled to begin on the 17th of September and the finals taking place on the first weekend of October 2021. Any boxers who have previously registered for the last scheduled Elite Championships will be considered registered for the September event. Additional athletes wishing to register or any athletes who may wish to revise their previous entry (weight class etc) should contact the National Secretary Paddy Gallagher via email at

With immediate effect Boxers from different clubs who are registered for the Elite Championships will be allowed to meet up with other registered boxers for full contact training and sparring in an out-door environment (In pods no greater than 15 and in line with the required protocols. For more information on Covid-19 protocols please visit –

The National secretary will publish an updated list of entries for the convenience of all. More information in relation to our National Elite Championships 2021 will be made available to members in the coming days and weeks.

Olympic Games

This fantastic news comes on the back of what has been an amazing couple of weeks for Irish boxing. Boxing again is at the forefront of Irish Olympic sport winning 50% of the Irish medals won at the Tokyo games and finishing a very impressive 7th in the boxing medals table. Huge credit must go to the High-Performance Director Bernard Dunne and his coaching team Zauri, John and Dmitri who did a fantastic job preparing the team and making sure the athletes were in peak condition for the games. We would also like to thank all the HP support staff for their hard work behind the scenes which was a key component to the overall success. 

Special mention must also go to all the athletes Kellie, Aoife, Michaela, Aidan, Kurt, Brendan and Emmet who all gave a wonderful account of themselves throughout the games and are a credit to themselves, their families, their clubs and the IABA. Particular congratulations to Gold Medallist Kellie Harrington and Bronze Medallist Aidan Walsh on their tremendous achievements.

Return to Indoor training

We would like to take this opportunity to ensure all of our members that we are acutely aware of the level of frustration being felt throughout the sport, due to the restrictive nature of the Covid-19 guidelines under which boxing has had to operate during the pandemic. Please be aware this frustration is felt and mirrored throughout the entire organisation. The IABA is continuing to work closely with Sport Ireland to facilitate all our members being able to return to normal training and competition setups. As soon as there is an update, we will communicate this with all members. Please be assured that we will provide time for our members to prepare ahead of any competitions taking place.

The IABA want to thank all members for their continued patience and support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The IABA is actively working with the Return to Sport Expert Group in an effort to ensure indoor sparring for preparation for all entries to the Elite championships in a safe and responsible manner can be undertaken as soon as possible but for clarity only outdoor sparring is permitted until further notice.

It should be noted, that the IABA is not responsible for establishing Covid-19 guidelines as they relate to boxing or any other area of society. Our role is to follow government guidelines and prepare boxing specific protocols for our members, which are submitted to and reviewed by the Return to Sport Expert Group prior to being implemented. The IABA from both a legal and insurance perspective, must adhere to these guidelines.

While it is frustrating to see other sports operating more freely than boxing we all must remain cognisant of the fact that these are outdoor sports which operate under a different set of guidelines. The government guidelines for all indoor sport are more restrictive. While we fully understand and accept the frustration members are feeling we would ask members to refrain from comparing boxing to other sports which don’t operate under the same restrictions.

The IABA is continuing to work very closely with Sport Ireland and other relevant stakeholders to facilitate our members being able to return to indoor training and competition as soon as possible.

We are very hopeful that there will be a break-through very soon with additional announcements in relation to the further easing of restrictions on indoor sports in the coming weeks and as soon as there is an update, we will communicate this with all our members.

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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:

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