The fight of the semi finals, and probably the fight of entire Senior Elite Championships, as well as one of the fights of the year came on Saturday night.
Lightweights Shauna O’Keefe and Amy Broadhurst went to war for three furious rounds in Dublin, putting on a spectacle that drew a long ovation from the National Stadium regulars following the completion of the contest.
O’Keefe would take the decision following a close fight, with a strong finish and her greater number shots getting the nod over the bigger blows of Broadhurst.
The Tipperary boxer spoke to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards and explained that “my coaches had a plan from a start, and always you have to be ready in case the plan changes. I had to execute my jabbing and feinting. I done what I should, but I could have done better. It got me over the line though, and that’s all that matters.”
“I had to dig deep, but I had it in me, the training’s going unbelievable. Realistically I shouldn’t have gotten into so much of a war at all, I should have kept it long, my jab, and my long straight shots, because I was beating her to the jab – but when you go for war, you have to go for war and that’s the end of it.”
“It’s one step closer to becoming senior champion and next week is the most important – that’s why I didn’t jump for the hills after I won, it’s not over yet.”
O’Keefe was a finalist last year, becoming the only woman to ever face Katie Taylor in the national championships, and would reach the quarter finals of the European Championships following Taylor’s move to the pros.
Despite this, the Clonmel fighter will be the underdog in Friday’s final when she takes on World Championships silver medalist Kelly Harrington who has made the step down from light welterweight. The confident O’Keefe is not worried however, and certainly seemed to mean it when she said that “I don’t really care who the favourite is. I’m fit, everything’s going well, and I’m going to turn up on the day to take the title. I’m not going to leave it until I do.”
“According to everyone, I wasn’t training – but I hid everything I was doing, you’re better off trying to be the dark horse in these competitions because you’ll be the one that people least expect.”
Eric Donovan joins Gavan Casey and Joe O’Neill on Episode 2 of the Irish Boxing Show: