The Ulster Boxing Council flagship tournament, the Ulster Seniors, have been given a new lease of life.
The provincial showpiece has failed to catch the imagination of all but the stalwart boxing fans in recent years – in fact the boxers themselves have shown little enthusiasm with only 27 competing when it was last held in Newry in November 2015.
With focus on national competitions, packed schedules, and general dissatisfaction with governance, many top names have been absent from entry lists in recent years.
The Ulster Council, headed by newly appointed president Kevin Dunne and secretary Charlie Toland, thankfully appear to be working hard to deliver the much needed shot in the arm the tournament required.
It is hoped that returning the once iconic tournament to its traditional home at the Ulster Hall for the first time since 2011 – as well as a major Commonwealth Games carrot – will help add the sparkle back to finals night o Friday November 24th.
The preliminary rounds will be contested on the Wednesday 15th and Friday 17th of November in the Dockers Club Belfast, with the initial weigh-ins taking place on Sunday November 12th.
While the tournament clashes with the Irish Senior (Intermediate) Championships, early indications suggest a that a very high entry is expected as well as many of the province’s top amateurs – such as Kurt Walker, Sean McComb, Caoimhin Agyarko Hynes, and Conor Wallace – declaring their intention to compete.
The Ulster Council have confirmed to Irish-Boxing.com that although winning the men’s section will not guarantee a place on the 2018 Commonwealth Games team, it is a major element of the selection criteria.
The number of male places and other selection criteria for the tournament next April in Australia should be finalised over the next few days. There remains uncertainty surrounding what the situation is regarding weight classes, with the AIBA ruling earlier this year that the number of male weights will be scaled back to eight – however there has been no further update.
Winning the ladies section however is the deciding factor in securing one of the six places up for grabs to the Gold Coast tournament in next year. The relevant weight categories for women, in terms of Commonwealth Games qualification, are light flyweight, flyweight, featherweight, lightweight, welterweight, and middleweight.
It is important to note that any boxer who wishes to be considered for inclusion on the 2018 CWG team must complete and return the long list form to the Ulster Council offices no later than the Wednesday November 1st.