No mercy – Griffin battles past club mate to set up ‘dream’ final

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He didn’t quite step over his granny to get to the National Elite Championship final, but Antoine Griffin showed his club mate no mercy as he made sure his decider dream came through.

Indeed, such was the effort he put in to beat fellow Celtic Eagles club man, Gytis Lisinskas you’d get the impression his grandmother may have been left on the ground if it was a choice between helping her up or a slot in the final big man two.

The soldier performance played out in one of the fights of the tournament – and certainly conveyed his desire to progress.

Speaking post the victory he further confirmed what it meant to secure victory.

“It was a great fight. It was hard hard work. We know one another well, so well we knew each other inside out and outside in. It was always just going to come down to the day and thank god I pulled through,” he told

“There was nothing in it. It was a split decision and a really close fight. I am just so glad to come out on the right side of it. Honestly this is a dream come true to make an elite final. The last two years I have lost in the first stage, but I think I am improving all the time.”

‘Toto’ certainly has improved, even from last year where he exited at the quarter final stage. He puts the transformation down to sparring some of the more known names in the division as well as his time spent away at the World Military Games.

“I am just back from the World Military Games the experience of that was great for me. Plus mixing with the best lads of late sparring has really helped me. The spars with Gardiner, Carty and Kenny Okungbowa has really helped me and brought me on.”

The fighter, who had Phil Sutcliffe in his corner for the semi final win, as the Celtic Eagles coaches took a step back, now has the chance to make the dream even better.

He faces reigning heavyweight champion Okungbowa in the super heavyweight final and has being doing his homework on the Athlone man over the last two days.

“To win it would mean more. I am hoping to push on from here now. We watched Kenny’s fight and we will talk about what we have to do for that fight now. I’ll sit back rest and talk to my coach about how we go about that fight.”


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: