The 69kg Elite title will be claimed by a former Irish Olympian this year, but whether it’s a Beijing Olympian or London 2012 Olympian remains to be seen.
John Joe Joyce, who represented Ireland at the 2008 Games, and Adam Nolan, who represented Ireland at the 2012 Games, both won their Elite Championships semi-finals at the National Stadium in Dublin tonight.
Joyce edged out the impressive Wayne Kelly on a split decision and Nolan scored a unanimous verdict over Bernard Roe in the final bout on tonight’s last-four card.
Ray Moylette, the 2008 World Youth and 2011 European Elite champion, produced a power-packed performance to beat Ross Hickey, a European Elite bronze medallist, in the light-welter class.
Hickey, who beat Moylette in the 2013 final, took a standing count in the third against an opponent who fired out a warning shot to defending champion Dean Walsh ahead of next Friday’s light-welter finals.
Hickey showed his class and sportsmanship by raising Moylette’s hand in victory after another pulsating encounter between the duo, a gesture that was sportingly acknowledged by Moylette.
Walsh saw off the challenge of Patrick Mongan. The Galway fighter gave it absolutely everything this evening and asked quite a few questions of the champion, but Walsh’s cleaner shots were enough to see him through to his second successive final.
Meanwhile, Limerick’s Myles Casey advanced to within one win of becoming the first St Francis BC boxer since Jimmy Moore and current WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee to claim an Elite title last night.
Moore, who was working Casey’s corner with his brother and St Francis Chief Seconds Ken tonight, beat Paddy Barnes – the last time Barnes was beaten at an Irish Championships – in the 2006 light-fly final a year after Lee claimed his final middleweight crown before turning pro with the Detroit Kronk.
Casey, a brother of ex European pro champion and World title challenger Willie “Big Bang”, beat Antrim’s TJ Waite on a unanimous decision to set up next Friday’s clash with Evan Metcalfe.
Metcalfe saw off the challenge of Adam Courtney in a fiery all-Dublin derby at the home of Irish boxing last evening.
Kristina O’Hara, Kurt Walker, Sean Higginson, Joanne Lambe, Dervla Duffy and ex Elite champion Sean McComb also won tonight.
But ex European Youth champion Gary Cully crashed out of the tournament at the last-four stage after dropping a unanimous decision to George Bates.
The second session of semi-finals will be completed tomorrow evening. Boxing begins at 7pm.
2015 National Elite Championships National Stadium Dublin
Friday January 16th (7pm)
51kg Kristina O’Hara (Emerald) beat Elaine Harrison (Ballina) 3-0
52kg Myles Casey (St Francis) beat TJ Waite (Cairn Lodge) 3-0
52kg Evan Metcalfe (Crumlin) beat Adam Courtney (St Marys) 3-0
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal) beat Jamie Higgins (St Brigids) 3-0
56kg Sean Higginson (St John Bosco) beat Anthony O’Rawe (Braid) 3-0
57kg Joanne Lambe (Carrickmackross) beat Moira McElligot (Rathkeale) 3-0
57kg Dervla Duffy (St Brigids/DF) beat Carly McNaul (Holy Trinity) 2-0
60kg Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) beat Gerard Matthews (St Pauls Antrim) 3-0
60kg George Bates (St Marys Dub) beat Gary Cully (St Davids Naas) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (St Ibars) beat Patrick Mongan (Olympic) 3-0
64kg Ray Moylette (St Annes) beat Ross Hickey (Grangecon/Defence F) 3-0
69kg John Joe Joyce (St Michaels Athy) beat Wayne Kelly (Mullingar Elite) 2-1
69kg Adam Nolan (Bray) beat Bernard Roe (Dublin Docklands) 3-0
Saturday January 17th (7pm)
64kg Sarah Close (Holy Family GG) V Kayleigh Murrihy (Kilfenora)
64kg Grainne Walsh (Sparticus) V Kelly Harrington (St Margarets)
69kg Christina Desmond (Macroom) beat Tina Donelly (Baldoyle) W/O
69kg Jillian Duffy (St Fergals Bray) V Clare Grace (Callan)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise) V Conor Coyle (St Joseps Derry)
75kg Caoimhin Hynes (Holy Trinity) V Stephen Broadhurst (Dealgan)
81kg Roy Sheahan (St Michaels Athy) V Chris Blaney (Navan)
81kg Padraig McCrory (Holy Trinty) V Matthew Tinker (St Francis)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) V John Joe McDonagh (Crumlin)
91kg Stephen McMonagle (Holy Trinity) V Kenneth Okungbowa (Ahtlone)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel) V Niall Kennedy (Gorey)
91+kg Jason Barron (Holy Trinity) V Constantin Popovicu (Johnstown)