They wrote him off but Eamon Tighe kept returning to sender until he finally delivered an Irish title.
Tighe was possibly the story of this year’s National Senior Championships installment. The 30-year-old claimed a title that was 19 years in the making and did so with one of the performances of the tournament.
Twelve years after he contested his first Senior [then Intermediate] Championships and 11 years after he lost his first final at the grade – against clubmate Liam Greene – the Sligo boxer final stepped into the winner’s circle. Indeed, the Ballinacarrow heavyweight has been searching for an Irish title since he was just 11-years-old.
“They wrote me off but I didn’t write back,” a delighted Tighe told Irish-boxing.com.
“It’s a long time coming. I’ve been boxing since I’m 11 and I’ve been to 10 Irish finals. I had a couple of breaks in between and I lost a couple of Intermediate finals. I had countless near misses but that’s just the way it is, that’s boxing. I’ve always said my preparation isn’t great, I probably shouldn’t be 92kgs.
“I’ve always tried really hard but I probably wasn’t doing the right things. We came up here last year with the wrong tricks, this year we changed it and got it right. I’ve always had the desire to box it’s just so hard to commit sometimes but when you do and do it right it pays off.”
Tighe lost in the decider last year and felt had to go away and re-learn the game after. He eventually reaped the reward for hours of homework last Saturday.
“I just put my head down in the last year and a half. I lost to Wayne Rafferty in the final last year, I got the scoring system wrong it was so long since I’d been doing it, so I got the head down, sat down watched a lot of people, and we got it over the line,” he adds before discussing the romance of the win.
“I got married this year and bought a house, those are not things that coincide with trying to win a senior title. A lot of these lads here are 18,19,20. They are fit and strong and training full time. I can’t do that with work and the body is giving in. So I’m over the moon, you couldn’t make it up. It’s unbelievable.”
As someone who knows what it’s like to lose was keen to shine a positive spotlight on his final opponent.
“He was so strong. He never stopped challenging me and pushing me back. I’d preferred to box with my own flow but he didn’t allow that. So I had to punch from every angle.”
The underdog story continues for Ballinacarrow’s first heavyweight champion since ‘Block’ Reynolds, who did Tighe’s corner for the tournament. He has entered the Elites and he would love another go at Rafferty.
“Why not! We’ll see what the criac is. I’d love to get another crack at Wayne Rafferty again.”