St Joseph’s ABC southpaw, Blaine Dobbins enjoyed his first taste of Ulster Senior Championship glory on Friday night when lifting the light flyweight title in Belfast.
And the Ballymagroarty lad - who sparred with Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes in preparation for the Championships - is hungry for more as he sets his sights on both national and Commonwealth success in what promises to be an exciting year for the 22 year-old.
“It feels great,” said the new Ulster Senior flyweight champion. “It was a fantastic achievement and I can look forward to the All-Irelands now in two weeks time.
“This was my first time going for the Ulster Senior title and I’m, delighted. That’s my name down on the list for the Commonwealth Games qualifiers so if I keep on working hard we’ll see how it goes.
“My aim is to go on the Commonwealths this year. My confidence is through the roof and I believe I can go down to Dublin as well and take the National title.
“It was a great night for the club and it was no coincidence. It’s all down to hard work and training hard and the coaches, Cahir (Duffy), Kevin (Duffy) and Liam McLaughlin have a major part to play as well.”
The light-flyweight decider was a cagey affair as Dobbins and his opponent, TJ Waite of Cairn Lodge played cat and mouse.
Former youth and U21 national champion, Dobbins edged the opening round with the cleaner punching, though Waite did seem to take the second as he managed to find the range with his right hand.
However, in the final three minutes the more potent punches came from Dobbins, who deserved the 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 decision.
“It was a tough fight,” said Dobbins. “The first round was very close and I started coming into the fight in the second and had a fantastic round in the third and a great finish.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get a decision in Belfast and the boy I was fighting was from Belfast as well so you have to win clearly and he was a tricky, slick fighter.
“It was the biggest fight of my life and to come out on top was a fantastic acheivement.”