21 February 2009 – By Cormac Campbell
The return to 3x3s certainly made the contests more exciting after all it is much more difficult to run for three minutes than two if you are under pressure. By this token, it was the likes of Frampton and Sutcliffe who probably benefit most. Frampton has struggled to establish himself on the national stage in recent years despite the gnawing belief that he is good enough.
Bernard Dunne was already looking in excellent shape ahead of his WBA title fight with Ricardo Cordoba on March 21. The Dubliner was taking a break from training to work on RTEs broadcast of the event. Word is he has taken his training regime to a new level and is looking excellent in sparring.
Ireland box the USA next Friday at the Stadium, and although the senior finals was a sell out, the international most likely will fall well short of this. That the event takes place in the same arena just one week after the Seniors doesnt help. The Stadium is a wonderful facility, but commercially it would appear to make more sense if Belfast, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Derry were also to host international tournaments on a regular basis. Also, given the success of Irish amateur boxing in 2008, and the undoubted class on display on Friday, why isnt there more amateur boxing on the TV? The sport can be taken to a whole new level if it is marketed correctly. Tickets for Friday’s bill are available from the National Stadium on 01-4533371
Judging was again an issue up for debate. Some of the low scores were laughable when it was considered just how much was going on in the ring. It seems obvious, but if it looks like a shot then the button should be pressed. This doesnt seem to be happening. Judges have to become more liberal if only to reward a boxers aggression. At one stage Frampton and Joyce stood toe to toe and blasted away. They both landed four or five shots apiece the combined score of the exchange was zero. To be fair, the right man generally wins. But as regards a spectacle, all to often fans in the Stadium saw a shot, looked up to the scoreboard, saw nothing and shook their heads and grumbled.
Boxers came to the ring with the accompanyment of their respective county flags. For some reason Belfast boxers were followed by an Armagh flag (orange and white) instead of Antrim (saffron and white) or Down (red and black) – depending on which part of the city they are from. I’m sure a lot of people didn’t notice – but if you are going to do something – do it right.