THE PRESIDENT of the Donegal Boxing Board, Peter O’Donnell, has welcomed the news that Belfast has been chosen as the venue for the 2020 European Schoolboy/Schoolgirl Championships.
Belfast will host the 18th staging of the Championships, the first time since 2001 that the city has held an international boxing tournament.
The announcement was made on Saturday following an inter-county match between Antrim and Kildare at the Corpus Christi Club on the Whiterock Road.
“It is brilliant news for all of Irish boxing,” O’Donnell, who was present for the big announcement, told Donegal Daily/Donegal Sport Hub.
“Belfast is a real home of boxing and has produced some great champions down the years. Irish boxing has had great success over the last number of years and it’s a great testament to the work being done that the IABA has secured the European Championships.”
Ireland last staged the European Championships in 2013 when Aaron McKenna – now a stablemate of Jason Quigley with Sheer Sports Management – and Jordan Myers won gold medals at the City West Hotel in Dublin.
Also at those Championships, Finn Valley ABC’s Leon Gallagher was a bronze medalist after being beaten by Ivan Chebrevichev from Ukraine in a 65kgs semi-final. Paddy Donovan who is being trained, like Quigley, by Andy Lee was also a participant, but her made an exit after a loss to Russia’s Nikia Piskunov in an early round.
O’Donnell said: “Irish boxing is looking forward to having the top boxers from Europe with us next summer. It will be a big undertaking to hold this tournament, but it’s fantastic to give our young boxers this kind of Championship to view on the doorstep.”
In 2001, Belfast hosted the World Championships when Guillermo Rigondeaux, David Haye and Carl Froch – who all went on to become World champions – won gold medals.
IABA President Dominic O’Rourke and Belfast boxing strategy development officer Liam Corr attended a EUBC Conference in Antalya, Turkey earlier this month when the decision was made.
“Ireland has a proud record at this level, and our young boxers will be looking to improve on that next summer at what will be a wonderful week of boxing in Belfast,” O’Rourke said.
“We want to bring in major events, and this will be stepping stone to possibly the Under 22 Championships and possibly the Elite Championships in two years’ time.”
Boxers from 34 countries are expected to compete at the Championships. While the venue and the dates have yet to be officially confirmed, it is likely that the new Brook Leisure Centre will house the Championships from June 25 to July 9.
Contested across 33 weights (19 male, 14 female), Ireland won 10 bronze, 6 silver, and 2 gold in the most recent edition of the championships in Tblisi, Georgia.Tags: