The anticipation surrounding this year’s National Elite super heavyweight final clash is as big as its two giant participants.
Ilia Mtsariashvili and Martin McDonagh will fight for the 92kg Irish title at the home of Irish boxing on Saturday night and it’s a match-up that has the fight fraternity very excited.
There are bigger names competing on the biggest night on the amateur calendar and more glamourous match ups but the super heavyweight pair have been two of the stories of the tournament.
Mtsariashvili is a Georgian who found a boxing home in Dublin Docklands and made a real impression in the two months he’s been at the club. The 23-year-old giant came to the tournament with real pedigree considering he was previously the number one super heavy in Georgia, the home country of High Performance boss Zaur Anita.
He recorded two wins to reach the final, a big stoppage victory in the quarter-final over Samuel Ilesanmi and a points win over 2023 runner-up Willie John McCarten in the semis.
“The people of Ireland have opened the door to me and have been very welcoming. There is also a lot of very good boxers here and the boxing people have been good to me. I would be proud to be the champion from here,” he told the Gazette after his final four win.
“I am very happy in Dublin Docklands. I am part of the team, a nice team and they have very good coaches. I’ve been in Ireland for one year but I’m only boxing for two months at the club. I have boxed before. I was number one in Georgia and was on the Georgian team,” he adds via a translator before commenting on McDonagh.
“He is a good guy and a good fighter but I believe in myself and I think I will win it. I would love to win the Irish title and be champion of Ireland. It would mean a lot to me.”
Like Mtsariashvili, McDonagh is competing in his first Irish National Elites having only recently began boxing. The Crumlin super-heavyweight has risen impressively through the levels since taking up the sport two years ago. He has collected Novice, Under-22 and Senior [formerly Intermediate] titles before he’s had 10 fights – and is now one win from taking the biggest domestic amateur title of all.
“It will be a good final and it’s a good match up but all I can do is my best,” said the Crumlin man.
“That’s all anyone boxer can do and that’s how I approach my fights,” he adds when speaking after his win over Westside’s Daniel Fakoyede he adds.
“I boxed a lot better today than I did in the in the Senior final. It’s on to the next one now and hopefully, I can produce that performance again. I was standing there too much in the Senior final. This time I moved more and I was catching with double jabs and picking him off.”
Photo Credit Matthew Spalding ‘The Boxers Photographer‘