DERRY’s capturing of the Ulster Elite Senior Championships next month is ‘long overdue’ according to Co. Derry Boxing Board Secretary, Min McCann.
Ebrington Square will host the provincial deciders for the first time from January 21st next to help kickstart Derry’s 2013 City of Culture celebrations and Mr. McCann is hoping it won’t be the last time the Ulster Boxing Council’s Blue Riband tournament comes to town.
“It’s a brilliant coup for the city and I must thank the Ulster Boxing Council and their President, Paul McMahon and their Secretary Sadie Duffy who have been behind us 100 per cent, supporting us bringing these Championships to Derry,” said Mr McCann.
“These are big Championships, there’s no question about it,” he continued. “It will bring the high profile boxers to Derry and it ties in nicely with the Commonwealth Games in 2014.
“It’s the first time the Championships have been out of Belfast as far as I understand. For us and the City of Culture it is tremendous that boxing is included as part of the City of Culture event because this city has a long tradition with boxing. “Forty years ago we had Charlie Nash and Neil McLaughlin representing Ireland in the Olympic Games and 40 years later this city has completely changed. We’re showing that the city has changed, even the pavilion itself where the boxing will take place in Ebrington. It’s a fantastic state-of-the-art events arena and we’re really excited about it.
“The Ulster Senior Elite Championships deserve a big stage and the venue will provide that for us. It’s around 2,000 seated capacity around the ring and I really can’t wait to see it set up because it looks impressive.”
“I would like to think it won’t be a one off. I’d like to think that it will come back to Derry but I don’t know if that will happen or not.
“The city’s boxing fraternity are just delighted that the Ulster Elite Championships are being held in Derry and we’re thankful to the City of Culture for acknowledging and endorsing what boxing has done for the city by providing us the opportunity to stage these championships as part as their year long programme.”
Sports Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín believes it offers the perfect chance to showcase the city’s boxing heritage.
“This is a great opportunity to see our Olympic heroes in action. This is the first time the championships have been held outside Belfast and are part of a packed sports programme for Derry City of Culture 2013. Derry has a proud boxing heritage, both professional and amateur.”
The preliminary rounds of the competition and the semi-finals will be staged in the Recreation Club at Du Pont, Maydown from January 21st to 23rd. The finals will be held in Ebrington on Friday, January 25th.
Ticket prices for the finals are £10 and £15 ringside. Doors will open at 7.30pm on the night.