This weekend sees 26 semi finals up for decision at the National Stadium as the Senior Elite Championships heats up in Dublin.
With likely places in the squad for the European Championships in Ukraine this Summer, there is added importance for the men.
Irish-Boxing.com takes a look ahead to the weekend’s fights and, on paper at least, there seems to be some tasty match-ups awaiting us at the home of Irish boxing.
Fights start at 7pm (both nights)
FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10th
48kg Carol Coughlan (Monkstown D) V Kristina O’Hara (St John Bosco)
Recent Intermediate champion Coughlan makes the move into the Elite ranks and goes straight into a big fight with 2015 flyweight runner-up Kristina O’Hara, whom is said to be looking sensational in preparations. Friday’s winner will face Shannon Sweeney (St Anne’s) in next Friday’s final.
49kg Connor Jordan (St Aidans) V Blaine Dobbins (St Josephs Derry)
It’s a classic youth v experience match-up here, with Wexford hot-shot Jordan stepping up to Elite level to face Derry’s Dobbins who has been around the scene for a long time, even boxing Paddy Barnes in the 2014 Seniors. The winner here will face recent Under-22 champion Darryl Moran (Illies GG) in the final next week.
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Pauls Antrim) V TJ Waite (Ormeau Road)
A rematch of the most recent Elite final. That night in December 2015, the tricky Waite gave the Rio Olympian plenty of problems. Irvine, who is aiming to become one of the team leaders ahead of the Tokyo Games will be looking to stamp his authority on the division. Irvine has received a bye, but Waite was in action last week, defeating Intermediate champ Tommy Casey.
57kg Dervla Duffy (Mulhuddart) V Tiegan Russell (Fr Horgans)
Duffy has moved up from bantamweight, where she won the last Elite championships, and will face Cork’s recent Under-22s runner-up Tiegan Russell.
57kg Amanda Coughlan (Paulstown) V Moira McElligott (St Michaels Athy)
Intermediate champion Coughlan will be looking to unseat reigning Senior champion McElligott – who has improved exponentially in the past year.
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal) V Evan Metcalfe (Crumlin)
Liburn’s Walker goes for his hat-trick at these championships and begins against 2015 flyweight runner-up Metcalfe. The Dubliner comes into the bout in good form having scored a huge win over big-punching Intermediate lightweight champion Frankie Cleary in the quarters.
60kg George Bates (St Marys Dublin) V Gary McKenna (Old School)
Two experienced and talented boxers who will both have Tokyo ambitions, Monaghan’s McKenna will enter the bout with the benefit of a fight under his belt having defeated Alan O’Connor last week. This is a rematch of their quarter final meeting at the last championships which was won by Dubliner Bates.
64kg Saidhbh Greene (St Brigids Edenderry) V Emma Agnew (Delagan)
Roscommon fighter Greene goes for her twelfth Irish title and makes the step up to light welter. Her opponent her is Dundalk’s former Under-21 champ Emma Agnew.
64kg Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) V Patrick Linehan (St Marys Dublin)
Belfast’s McComb gets going at light welter where he has looked impressive recently. His first challenge will come against Dubliner Linehan who defeated young Mayo star Colm Quinn in the quarters.
69kg Dean Walsh (St Ibars) V Tiernan Bradley (Sacred Heart O)
European bronze medalist Walsh has stepped up to welter in search of his fourth consecutive Irish title. He got his campaign underway last week with a win over IATBA champ Mark McCole. Tyrone teen Bradley has also grown into 69kg, jumping two weights since the last Seniors, and the Commonwealth Youth silver medalist began his championships with a stylish win over Gerard French.
75kg Emmett Brennan (Glasnevin) V Fearghus Quinn (Camlough)
Dubliner Brennan caused a minor shock in the quarters, eliminating John Joyce, and he will be looking to build on this on Friday. In his way is the talent Armagh boxer Fearghus Quinn who claimed the Ulster title in 2015 and was narrowly edged out himself by Joyce in the last Seniors. The talented GAA player began his tournament with a win over Glory Lmuala.
81kg Joe Ward (Moate) V Michael Frayne (St Marys)
Big Joe boxes for the first time since his Olympic disappointment and will be hoping to get off to a strong start against Frayne who overcame Robert Burke in a Dublin derby in the quarters.
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) V John Joe McDonagh (Crumlin)
Kilkenny veteran O’Neill is sticking around a bit longer, and the London Olympian gets his eleventh Senior championships underway against Crumlin’s McDonagh, who scored a very big win in the quarters against Kiril Afanasev.
91+kg Damien Sullivan (Emerald Antrim) V Martin Keenan (Rathkeale)
Hotly-tipped Belfast big man Dee Sullivan, occasional sparring partner of Tommy McCarthy, closes the first night of action against Limerick’s National Intermediate champ Keenan who won last week against Patrick Nevin.
SATURDAY FEBRUARY 11th
52kg Thomas McCarthy (Mayfield) V Adam Courtney (St Marys Dublin)
Cork teenager and reigning Intermediate champion Thomas McCarthy starts off his Elite adventure against experienced Dub Adam Courtney, a semi finalist two years ago.
56kg Myles Casey (St Francis) V Stevie McKenna (Old School)
Runner-up last time, Casey will be aiming to go one better, and got his campaign off to a brilliant start against Eamon McNally last week. Light flyweight champ Stevie McKenna has jumped up through the weights, but the Monaghan youngster is hugely confident of glory in these championships.
60kg Shauna O’Keeffe (Clonmel) V Amy Broadhurst (Dealgan)
The battle to fill the void left by Katie Taylor begins on Saturday. Tipperary’s O’Keefe lost in the last final to Taylor, but would impress at the European Championships in November. Broadhurst is Ireland’s most decorated underage female boxer ever and comes into the Championships with a lot of backing. The winner here will face 64kg World Championships silver medalist Kelly Harrington in next week’s final.
60kg Gerard Matthews (St Pauls Antrim) V Patrick Mongan (Olympic)
Both here have worked their way down from 64kg. 2014 champion Mongan has been tipped by some to win the tournament outright, while Matthews is also a well-known talent ready to make a breakthrough.
64kg Cheyanne O’Neill (Athlone) V Ciara Ginty (Geesala)
A repeat of last month’s Under-22 final which was won by the big punching O’Neill over the Youth Olympic silver medalist.
64kg Benaldo Marime (Holy Trinity) V Wayne Kelly (Ballynacargy)
Both boxers received byes. 2014 Commonwealth Games participant for Mozambique, Marime, will be looking to make an impact on the Irish scene, however Kelly has been tipped to impress, having been narrowly edged out by Ray Moylette in the semi finals of the last championships.
69kg Tina Donnelly (Corinthians) V Gráinne Walsh (Spartacus)
Gráinne Walsh enjoyed an impressive debut year at Elite international level, reaching the quarters of the Worlds and Europeans. Now she will be looking to win a first Irish Senior title. In here way will be Dubliner Donnelly, the 2015 Intermediate champion. The winner here will face Gillian Duffy of Bray.
69kg Peter Carr (Crumlin) V Brett McGinty (Oakleaf)
Dubliner Carr kicked off his campaign with a win over Nathan Watson, while decorated underage star McGinty made the step up to Elite level with a win over Ulster champion Ross Boyle.
75kg Stephen Broadhurst (Delagan) V Caoimhin Hynes (Holy Trinity)
Southpaw Broadhurst was runner-up two years ago but by all accounts comes into these championships in even better shape.The Muirhevnamor puncher began last weekend with a win over David Bicevas. Highly-rated Belfast puncher Hynes has stepped up to the more comfortable weight of 75kg and got his tournament off to a winning start against Conor Doherty, a repeat of his 2016 Senior quarter final.
81kg Tony Browne (St Michaels Dub) V Sean Allen (Arlow)
Highly-rated Dubliner Browne edged his quarter final with former underage star Sean Conroy last weekend, and now faces a last four bout with the hugely experienced Sean Allen.
91kg Cormac Long (Rathkeale) V Kenneth Okungbowa (Athlone)
Intermediate champ Long avenged his Under-22 final defeat to Geoffrey Kavanagh last month with a win over the Dubliner in the quarter finals here. Now the Limerick man goes up against big Ken Okungbowa who enjoyed a fantastic 2016 that saw him claim World Universities bronze and multiple multi-nations golds.
91+kg Bernie O’Reilly (Portlaoise) v Thomas Carty (Glasnevin)
Heavyweight runner up last time, O’Reilly has made the step up in weight. In the other corner will be Thomas Carty, super heavy runner-up last time and recent Under-22 champion.