The Monkstown teenager made his Senior debut on Friday night, defeating Rory Baird in the light flyweight semi-finals and will now face Regan Buckley, who received a bye, in the decider.
An underdog, Mari is just enjoying the experience as he targets the Olympics in Paris in 2024.
The confident 18-year-old spoke to Irish-Boxing.com following his win over Baird and admitted that “it was tough in there, he’s the same age as me but he’s a bit more experienced than me in Senior boxing. This was my first Senior fight.”
“This is my first Senior competition and I feel fecking brilliant.”
“Listen, I’m delighted, I’m in the Elite final in my first year in the Elites.”
Mari becomes Monkstown’s first male Elite finalist and is really starting to kick on having taken a short break from the sport.
He explained how “I took a year out, I was boxing for eight years straight, and it did me the world of good. I’m hungrier now than I’ve ever been after coming back.”
“It’s a brilliant club, I’m learning all the time. I’ve the best coaches in the country and that’s why I’m always confident going into a fight, knowing that they can guide me even if I come up against adversity.”
Against Buckley, Mari faces an opponent a good few years his senior and his physically strongest foe yet.
Up against it, no doubt, he declares that “I’m all about this, I live for it.”
“I’ve nothing to lose going into this, that’s why I’m so excited for next week, I’ve got nothing to lose. I can’t wait to box and build on this.”
“I love being the underdog, there’s no pressure on me, all the pressure is on him.”
“I’ve never sparred him, never boxed him, I’m looking forward to getting in and seeing what he’s about.”
“I’m just focusing on myself, I’ll let them focus on me.”
Many fighters will be thinking of Tokyo on Saturday night but Buckley and Mari won’t as the light flyweight class has been taken away from the Olympic roster.
It’s an annoyance for Mari but he has his eyes on the Paris Games at flyweight or above and believes he will be better for the experience.
The youngster notes how the plight of the light flys “set me back a bit.”
“But, 2024 is the aim, I’ll grow a bit. It’s all building towards 2024, it’ll be my time then.”