Liffey Crane Hire is to be the new sponsor of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association National Senior Elite Finals this weekend.
The Finals will be televised live on Saturday night by RTE Television, and there will be a special award on the night for the best female boxer presented in the name of the late, great Jimmy Magee.
“Following the past few weeks of quarter-finals and semi-finals in which we witnessed some great boxing at all weights, we are really looking forward to the Liffey Crane Hire Elite Finals on Saturday night,” said Fergal Carruth, CEO of the IABA.
“It is fitting that Liffey Crane Hire, a very successful Irish company should partner the IABA and Ireland’s most successful Olympics Sport for the 2018 National Elite Finals.”
“Managing Director, Michael Gill, has long been committed to boxing in Ireland and has been a dedicated Judge and Referee for the IABA. His commitment has manifested itself in this partnership.”
“Liffey Crane Hire are proud sponsors of the National Elite Championships, the highlight of the Irish Boxing calendar,” added Gill.
“With 20 highly contested titles up for grabs next Saturday night, with women and men competing on the same night for the first time ever we expect great excitement and no doubt a few surprises.”
It is an impressive line up in the ring on Saturday with stories emerging from every corner.
Five defending champions will be in action in Saturday’s National Elite finals at Dublin’s National Stadium. Martin Keenan, Grainne Walsh, Dervla Duffy, Kellie Harrington and Christina Desmond put their belts on the line at super-heavy, welter, feather, light and middle.
Walsh, a European Union Elite bronze medallist, meets former World Junior champion and Olympic Youth finalist Ciara Ginty in the 69kg decider.
Ginty, who scooped the AIBA World Female Junior Boxer of the Year in 2013, claimed an Elite belt at light-welter last year but has moved up a notch.
2016 World Elite light-welter finalist Kellie Harrington has since dropped down to light and faces former European Youth and Junior champion Amy Broadhurst in Saturday’s 60kg decider.
Harrington beat Shauna O’Keeffe, who Olympic and WBA champion Katie Taylor beat in the 2015 final, in the 2017 title match.
Cork’s European Elite bronze medalist Desmond is in against Aoife Burke and Keenan renews acquaintances with ex-Elite champion Dean Gardiner in a Limerick versus Tipperary All-Ireland in a repeat of the 2017 box-off for a place on the Irish team for the European Championships which Gardiner won.
Duffy beat Ashley McCullough, a niece of 1992 Olympic finalist and WBC champion Wayne McCullough, in the semi-finals last weekend and goes head-to-head with Michaela Walsh for featherweight gold.
Walsh, who lost on a split decision to England’s two-time Olympic champion Nicola Adams in the 2014 Commonwealth flyweight final in Glasgow, claimed European Union Elite bantamweight gold in 2017.
Harrington and Grainne Walsh took home silver and bronze from the same tournament, with Harrington losing out to Finland’s Mira Potkonen who beat Katie Taylor at Rio 2016 in Taylor’s last fight in the amateur ranks.
Meanwhile, the middleweight final between Portlaoise BC stylist Michael Nevin, a former European Schoolboy, Junior and Youth champion, and Derry’s Brett McGinty of the Oakleaf BC has to potential to be the final of the night.
The Oakleaf BC are also celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and McGinty, a Youth Commonwealth Games medalist, would, if his hand is raised in victory, become their first Elite champion.
Cork’s Thomas McCarthy, who lost the 2017 flyweight final to Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine is back at the business end of the flagship tournament of Irish boxing versus Dublin bantam Evan Metcalfe.