OLYMPIC SILVER MEDALLIST Kenneth Egan has announced his retirement following defeat in tonight’s National Elite Championship Finals.
In search of an 11th senior title in his 13th straight final, Egan was dismantled by a brilliant performance from defending light-heavyweight champion Joe Ward.
Ward, 19, outpunched and outpowered the more experienced Egan for a massive 25-5 win in the 81kg decider at the National Stadium in Dublin.
It completes a hat-trick of senior titles for the teenager from Moate, County Westmeath who came of age when he first beat Egan in the 2011 final. Tonight he brought down the curtain on the career of one of Ireland’s finest boxers as Egan, 31, left the ring to a sustained standing ovation.
Elsewhere on the 14-bout card, London Olympians Michael Conlan and Adam Nolan retained their respective flyweight and welterweight titles while gold medallist Katie Taylor won on her return to the ring with a comfortable 28-5 defeat of Poland’s Karolina Graczyk. Taylor now prepares for her sold-out Road to Rio promotion where she faces Maike Klueners in Dublin’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre on Sunday.
For flyweight finalist Chris Phelan, it was another case of deja vu as he closed the book on his unhappy trilogy against Conlan. It is the third successive year that these two have met in the 52kg decider and again Conlan showed his class, taking control of a tight contest early on and running out 20-9 winner.
Nolan also made it three-in-a-row, though his 21-13 win over Willie McLaughlin was not without its nervous moments, particularly in the last 90 seconds as the man from Illies Golden Gloves scrapped to get something out of an entertaining bout.
With six-time national champion Paddy Barnes forced to withdraw from this year’s title defence through illness, 2012’s beaten finalist Hugh Myres of Ryston came through to claim his first light-flyweight title, beating TJ Waite 17-8.
In one of the fights of the evening, Ross Hickey defended his light-welterweight belt in a barnstorming contest against Mayo man Ray Moylette. Moylette, the European champion at 64kg, rocked Hickey with a powerful right in the middle of the second and left the contest poised at 8-8 before Hickey pulled clear for a 15-11 win.
The bantamweight title, left vacant following an injury to defending champion John Joe Nevin, went to Crumlin’s Declan Geraghty who scored a 16-7 win against Gary McKenna while Belfast’s Sean McComb took home lightweight honours following a 19-7 win against Dubliner George Bates.
Donegal’s Jason Quigley added a national championship to his European U23 gold medal as he held off the gutsy challenge of Roy Sheehan in an absorbing middleweight final while, for the second year running, Tommy McCarthy scored a knockout win to top the heavyweight division. McCarthy knocked Drimnagh’s Jimmy Sweeney down in the second round and finished the job moments later, connecting with a sweet right to the chin.
In the women’s featherweight final, Michaela Walsh was a one-point winner against Joanna Lambe. Dervla Duffy stopped Michelle Lynch in the second round of the bantamweight final to complete a double for Kildare’s Ryston BC, while Kelly Harrington beat Sarah Close 13-10 in the light-welterweight decider.
National Elite Boxing Championships — Finals
- 49kg: Hugh Myres (Ryston) 17-8 TJ Waite (Cairn Lodge)
- W 57kg: Michaela Walsh (Holy Family) 14-13 Joanna Lambe (Carrickmacross)
- 52kg: Michael Conlan (St John Bosco) 20-9 Chris Phelan (Ryston)
- 64kg: Ross Hickey (Grangecon) 15-11 Ray Moylette (St Anne’s)
- 56kg: Declan Geraghty (Crumlin) 16-7 Gary McKenna (Old School)
- 60kg: Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) 19-7 George Bates (St Mary’s)
- 75kg: Jason Quigley (Finn Valley) 15-6 Roy Sheehan (St Michael’s Athy)
- 91kg: Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett) KO3 Jimmy Sweeney (Drimnagh)
- 81kg: Joe Ward (Moate) 25-5 Ken Egan (Neilstown)
- W 60kg additional bout: Katie Taylor (Ireland) 28-5 Karolina Graczyk (Poland)
- 69kg: Adam Nolan (Bray) 23-12 Willie McLaughlin (Illies GG)
- W 54kg: Dervla Duffy (Ryston) RSC2 Michelle Lynch (Golden Gloves)
- W 64kg: Kelly Harrington (Corinthians) 13-10 Sarah Close (Holy Family)
- 91+kg: Sean Turner (Drimnagh) 21-8 Niall Kennedy (Gorey)