OAKLEAF Amateur Boxing Club staged its opening tournament of the year at the Tower Hotel last Saturday as local boxing fans were treated to a feast of quality contests.
A number of the Brandywell club’s Irish champions were on show, including Francie Stokes and Ryan Green and they produced some terrific bouts while Oakleaf’s Brett McGinty and St Joseph’s Dathi Glennon were involved in one of the best contests of the tournament.
Oakleaf’s 10 year-old, Kian Divin and Eoghan Quinn of St.John’s got proceedings off and running with a great exhibition of underage boxing. Two fine young boxers who most certainly have a big futures in the sport.
St. Mary’s Dylan Durcan then lost to Letterkenny’s Oran Shields and while the game Creggan refused to take a backward step throughout, the more experienced Shields took the decision 12-8.
Immaculata, who supplied four boxers, in preparation for the upcoming championships, decided to make all contests involving their boxers, no decisions.
Oakleaf’s Calum Toland would undoubtedly have had his hand raised in victory had his contest gone to the judges. The ever improving St. Johnston youngster never gave Immaculata’s Eamon Wilson any space to use his longer reach and will feel a little aggrieved not to get the decision.
Tom Stokes, who boxes in the Ulster Final next weekend, was always in control during his tussle with Stephen Callaghan of Clonmany. The talented southpaw emerging a 15-9 points winner.
Jamie Ferguson, Oakleaf, and Niall Deeney from St. John’s served up one of the best contests of the night at 69kgs. The heavier St John’s boxer was always dangerous but the Oakgrove College student used his superior jab to great effect before landing with his own right hand to score punches. Ferguson eventually recorded an excellent 18-15 win.
All credit to Oakleaf’s Darren Quigley who has been out of the ring for over a year, for taking this exhibition with J T Meli of Immaculata at short notice. Both pugilists concentrated on body punching with both landing heavys shots throughout this entertaining no contest.
Conor Long produced one of his best performances to date to defeat a determined Oran McGill (St John’s) 13-11. Long will also box in the Ulster 48k Final next weekend.
Also featuring in the bill was 13 year-old Ulster Champion, Mariead Dobbins who made her hometown debut against Ulster Champion, Catlin Fryers of Immaculata. Southpaw, Dobbins cheered by her family, certainly showed why coaches at Oakleaf think so highly of her.
The third year Oakgrove College, an Irish Champion judo player, will be trying to achieve a unique sporting double when she looks to add a national boxing title next month.
Oakleaf’s Marty Green, having taken the opening two rounds in his bout, allowed James Callaghan back into the contest and to his credit sneaked a close but deserved 10-9 points win.
Battle of Irish champions
In the battle of Irish champions, Oakleaf’s Francie Stokes and Immaculata boxer, Conor Hyland showed all the skills and technique which gained them national honours in this absorbing exhibition of amateur boxing.
Ryan Green, recently crowned Irish champion showed the packed attendance a sample of this talents in defeating Cealon Harkin of Dunfanaghy.
The Oakleaf boxer was just too busy for the Donegal lad and the decision was never in doubt as Green emerged victorious on points by 12-7.
In what some well seasoned boxing fans have described as one of the best amateur boxing contests seen in Derry for a long time, Brett McGinty and Dathi Glennon produced a fantastic battle. It was a pity there had to be a loser, but in the end of three thrilling rounds of boxing, it was Glennon who took a close but deserved victory 16-14. McGinty will now turn his attentions to the National Boys Championships in Dublin during Easter week.
The final contest of a marvellous night of boxing lived up to its top billing as the popular St Mary’s heavyweight, Sean McGlinchey out-pointed the durable Thomas Roohan from Sligo. The Derry man’s quick hands were the difference in this one, as McGlinchey always landed his punches first then moving away from the ever dangerous Sligo boxer, the Westway man taking this one 12-7.
Oakleaf Boxing Club would like to thank their sponsors of the tournament, Mr Jim Noonan and the staff of the Tower Hotel for all their assistance.
Club chairman, Eugene O’Kane was delighted with the success of the show and believes the tournament will have helped the club’s young boxer prepare for the up-coming Championships, as well as proving crucial in securing funds to send the boxers and coaches to Dublin.