The U18 Open Competition all came down to the clash between Dublin Docklands destroyer Pierce O’Leary and European Junior gold medalist Callum Walsh.
Highly anticipated, it was a fantastic fight at headquarters, and was only decided by the narrowest of margins.
Riverstown’s Walsh emerged a 3-2 split-decision winner, a decision which outraged the O’Leary camp.
The inner-city Dub, cousin of current pro Bernard Roe, started fast and landed some huge shots early, before the young Cork fighter worked his way into the bout, finishing the stronger.
A what-you-like sort of fight, the verdict really came down to how one scored the second round, a stanza in which O’Leary broke his thumb and Walsh began to up to workrate.
It was a baptism of fire at U18 level for Walsh who doesn’t turn 17 until next month.
The Rebel teen though proved he has the guts, fitness – and chin – to compete at this class and told Irish-Boxing.com that “I felt good. I knew he was going to be strong so I just had to stick to the gameplan.”
Looking back at the frantic clash, Walsh described how “I started boxing slow, I lost the first. I picked it up then and won the second round, so I knew it was all down to the third. Then the third I knew I just had to pick it up again for the three minutes.”
“A lot of it is fitness, but I was just thinking ‘it’s only three minutes, I just need to give it me all.”
“This is my life, this is what I’m training for.”
Ireland’s sole gold medalist at the European Juniors last year, Walsh wants to double his tally at the Youth Championships in April.
The talented teen is confident ahead of the tournament in Italy and – like a number of Irish fighters – is dreaming of Argentina and the Youth Olymic Games in Buenos Aires.
“I’ll be confident,” said Walsh. “I’ll take a week off, and then it’s straight back into training.”
“If I win gold in these Europeans then I’ll qualify for the Youth Olympics – that’s my goal, to qualify for the Youth Olympics,”