OAKLEAF Amateur boxer Ryan Green put past disappointments behind him last weekend to finally clinch a richly deserved Irish title when he defeated Ballyhaunis’ Gary Ward in the Boy 4, (44 kilo) category in Dublin’s National Stadium.
The 14-year old has been unfortunate over recent years when he lost out by a single point on two separate occasions to boxers who went to become National champions. At the weekend, however, Green was in superb form as his performances in the semi-final and final contests saw him post two of the highest scores of the entire Championship.
His opponent in the semi-final was the Munster champion, Stephen Hand, and from the first bell Green was always in control. A body shot in round three forced Hand to take a standing count and he was lucky to get to the final bell, Green winning 16-3 after an outstanding display.
In the final the St. Joseph’s Boys School Year 4 student was pitted against the ex-Irish Champion, Ward and Green fought the perfect fight. Picking his shots from a tight guard, his body shots were a joy and despite not always being scored by judges, these had a devastating effect on the Connaught champion.
To his credit Ward never stopped coming forward but when the scores at the end of the opening round had Green 3-9 in front, there was only going to be one winner.
The decision was only a formality, and to the cheers of his coaches and supporters, it was Green’s hand raised in victory on an eventual scoreline of 17-7.
The modest 14-year old paid tribute to his coaches, Kevin “Spasy” McGilloway, Ambrose Moore and Eugene O’Kane jun., saying each had immensely helped in his preparation for the Championships.
Oakleaf chairman, Eugene O’Kane, heaped praise on the new Irish champion for his dedication.
“Ryan is a great lad and this win was well deserved,” explained O’Kane, “It was very encouraging for Ryan to have so many supporters there to cheer him on I would like to thank joint-treasurer John Tierney for organising the transport to Dublin.”
Club coach Kevin McGilloway said Green’s win would inspire all the young members of club. He also pointed out that this was only ‘part one’ for his young boxer, adding the Bridgend lad has another important date coming up - the National Senior Cadet Championships - which is a qualifier for the European Schoolboys Championships.
Local fans will get a chance to see the new champion when the Brandywell club stage their next tournament in The Tower Hotel on Saturday, March 24th, against a quality Ulster Select team.