OakLeaf ABC's Jack Harkin crowned Irish champion in Dublin

Derry has a new Irish boxing champion after Oakleaf ABC's Jack Harkin produced a sensational display to lift the Under 18 51kg title in Dublin on Sunday

Oakleaf ABC's Jack Harkin celebrates after winning the National Under 18 51kg title in Dublin on Sunday
Oakleaf ABC's Jack Harkin celebrates after winning the National Under 18 51kg title in Dublin on Sunday

The Oakleaf flyweight is recognised as one of the top prospects on the local scene and fully justified that billing by coming thought three tough contests to lift the crown in style against reigning champion, Aston Ruth from Dublin's Avona ABC. These championships are a pointer for selection to the World Youth Championships which are due to be held in Alicante in November where young Harkin will now be hoping to emulate Oakleaf's two previous World Youth representatives, Brett McGinty and Ryan Green.

In the preliminary round of the nationals, the Oakleaf boxer produced an excellent display to see off Olympic Mullingar's Carson Hanlon, coming through with an emphatic 5-0 victory on points. His semi final opponent was the COYLdangerous Adam McKenna from Holy Family in Drogheda but after three tough rounds, the was the Derry boxer who progressed to the final with a well deserved points win.

Standing in Harkin's way in the final was reigning U18 champion Ruth and from the start to the final bell Harkin kept Ruth on the back foot, landing with scoring right hands to take a very impressive 5-0 win over an excellent opponent. It was a fantastic was to secure the title with Harkin emerging as Ulster's sole winner at the championships. Oakleaf's other entry, Bernie Stokes (60kg) also performed very well, losing on a 4-1 split decision in the semi-finals to Lee McAvoy, the eventual champion.

New Irish U18 51kg champion, Jack Harkin from Oakleaf ABC, with his coaches Eugene O'Kane Jnr (left) and Raymond Rogan in Dublin on Sunday

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"The coaching structure is really beginning to pay off," explained the Oakleaf Secretary, "With Jack joining club colleague and fellow Irish Champion, Adam McIvor, who won his title earlier this year."