It’s the most wonderful night of the year.
National Elite Finals night returns for the second time this year and the 2024 instalment.
20 finals will be decided over a marathon session of top-class boxing at the National Stadium
Boxing begins as early as 5pm and can be viewed HERE.
Before the action begins we here at Irish-boxing.com picked out the finals that stood out for us. We understand each and every final means a lot and has the potential to deliver entertainment – but these are the ones that caught our eye.
57kg Jude Gallagher (Two Castles) V Adam Hession (Monivea)
The last two standing in one the most competitive weight classes the National Elite Championships has seen in recent years.
Both fighters had impressive semi-final wins on Friday and will now look to take a massive step toward becoming number one in a talent-packed division just in time for the Olympic qualifiers.
Gallagher was extremely impressive against fellow Commonwealth gold medal winner Dylan Eagleson in the semis, defeating the Belfast fighter who knocked out and dethroned champion Paul Loonam the week previous.
Hession won a split against Davey Joyce, a fancied young prospect, who like all four featherweight semi-finalists can boast being an Elite Champion.
This is another 50-50 hard-to-call battle between two young boxers with Paris 2024 dreams, certainly one to watch!
60kg Kellie Harrington (St Marys D) V Zara Breslin (Tramore) and 57kg Kellie McLoughlin (St Catherines) V Michaela Walsh (Holy Family GG)
Both these finals have firm favourites in the already Paris 2024 qualified Kellie Harrington and Michaela Walsh but remain standout bouts because of what is at stake.
The Dublin and Belfast legends of the fight game can become the only 11-time Irish Elite Champions with victory over Zara Breslin and Kellie McLoughlin respectively at the National Stadium.
Harrington and Walsh currently sit alongside Kenneth Egan and Jim O’Sullivan as 10-time Irish champions but can move out alone if they have their hands raised on the South Circular Road tonight. You could watch history being made!
80kg Gabriel Dossen (Olympic Galway) V Kelyn Cassidy (Saviours Crystal)
Kelyn Cassidy and Gabriel Dossen meet in another hugely anticipated decider.
Cassidy has established himself as the main light heavyweight in Ireland over recent years whilst proving his International class at the World Championships in 2021 and this year’s European Games.
Indeed, the Waterford fighter came as near as you can get to a European Games medal, Olympic qualification, and one of the best wins in recent Irish boxing history earlier this year only to be edged by Olympic medallist and human buzzsaw Oleksandr Khyzniak.
The Déise fighter would be fancied to qualify for Paris via one of next year’s qualification tournaments but now faces a real battle for the right to be sent.
European middleweight gold medal winner Dossen, a long-since vaunted natural talent, has moved up to the weight to pursue his Olympic dream and has reached the final.
The Galway man is eyeing up Cassidy’s #1 and meets his friend in what looks to be a final with more than just domestic honours at stake.
71kg Dean Walsh (St Ibars/Josephs) v Eugene McKeever (Holy Family Drogheda)
Similar to the featherweight decider, Dean Walsh versus Eugene McKeever is the meeting of two fighters who navigated a landmine-riddled field to get to the final two.
Both have won two tough fights to reach to this point and the two National Elite Championships names now square off in a potentially exciting final.
Walsh was the story of the last Elite instalment, ensuring a happy ending for a redemption story he hopes has an Olympic chapter.
McKeever moved into the weight to chase down a Paris spot and has developed into a serious International operator in his own right over the last few years.
54kg Jennifer Lehane (DCU Athletic) V Niamh Fay (Ballyboughal)
This was billed as one of the bouts of the last National Elite Finals night – but didn’t deliver.
However, it still has all the ingredients that made it so mouthwatering earlier this year with some added spice thrown in.
Underage graduate Fay won a scrappy affair last time out but the ever-improving Lehane was picked to represent Ireland at the Olympic qualifying European Games.
The DCU fighter didn’t manage to reach Paris, falling an agonising one win short, meaning this rematch may have a lot more at stake than an Irish title. As such it should be wonderfully tense and potentially explosive.