BOXING: Blaine ready to fill Paddy Barnes’ boots and follow in footsteps of Derry legend

Blaine Dobbins, left, of St Joseph's, Derry, is declared winner over Connor Jordan, of St Aidan's BC, at the end of their 49kg bout during the 2016 IABA Elite Boxing Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Blaine Dobbins, left, of St Joseph's, Derry, is declared winner over Connor Jordan, of St Aidan's BC, at the end of their 49kg bout during the 2016 IABA Elite Boxing Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Blaine Dobbins doesn’t need any extra motivation to finish the job at the Irish Elite Boxing Championships at the National Stadium tonight.

The St Joseph’s ABC light flyweight can become the first Derry man to get his hands on the title since the late Neil McLaughlin’s success back in 1972.

Neil McLaughlin won the light fly title as well. He passed away a few years ago so it would be nice to win it and get my name on the trophy alongside his. It would be brilliant.

Blaine Dobbins

McLaughlin turned to the professional ranks after his back-to-back successes in ‘71 and ‘72 and went on to star for Derry and Ireland at the ‘72 Munich Olympics where he made the quarter-finals.

Ballymagroarty native, Dobbins is hoping to have his name etched on the light flyweight trophy alongside his fellow Derry man who passed away four years ago.

And with three time Olympian, Paddy Barnes, who dominated the division for several years, now out of the way since turning pro. there’s an opening for another Irish flyweight champion to take the reins.

Dobbins is desperate to take advantage and begin his own period of dominance, starting with victory over Illies Golden Gloves man, Darryl Moran in tonight’s Elite final in Dublin to become Ireland’s No. 1 flyweight.

The 25 year-old is back from a two year break from the sport with renewed hunger and a huge incentive to fill the boots of Barnes now that the Belfast man has moved out of the way.

Not only that, but Dobbins can create his own little slice of history by becoming St Joseph’s ABC’s first Irish Senior champion.

It’s a huge opportunity for Dobbins and he’s ready to take it!

“If I win this title I’ll be making history for the club,” he said. “No one has ever won the Elite title at St Joe’s.

“Neil McLaughlin won the light fly title as well. He passed away a few years ago so it would be nice to win it and get my name on the trophy alongside his. It would be brilliant.

“It would set me up rightly and I could get into the High Performance team in Dublin and things should just fall into place.

“I was away for two years but I had three fights there over the summer past and it’s been full steam ahead for the new season in September.

“I trained every day I just didn’t fight. I thought it was great opportunity for me and I felt I could make it now that Paddy (Barnes) is away.

“It’s a big opportunity for me so I decided to get back at it.

“At the minute there’s no light flyweight champion so the fact I’ve been about for a long time, with my experience, I think I can take over now.

“It’s a life changing opportunity to win an elite title. It’s all down to Friday night now and whoever wins.

“I’m excited about it. It’s a big achievement getting to the final. I just have to focus on what I have to do.”

Buncrana man, Moran stands in his way and comes to the ring full of confindence. So how does Dobbins expect the fight to unravel?

“It could be a cagey affair but it could go the other way as well. It just depends on the night. “So we’ll see what happens but I’m feeling fairly confident. I’ve trained hard and have put the work in so I’m looking forward to it.

“I have really good support and I couldn’t thank the people around the town enough. It just shows you how the town can get behind someone who’s doing well in the sport. They just want you to do your best.

“This is my first time fighting him (Moran) but I knew I would be meeting him sometime soon because he was fighting well and is the same weight as me.

“I just have to do what I do best and perform. Anytime I’m in that stadium I seem to box well and hopefully I can do the same again on Friday night.

“I feel very confident in myself and I’ll do the business.

There will be a big crowd but that’s what you work hard for and you just have to enjoy it. The future’s bright.”

“Hopefully I can bring the title back home.”