Three of Ireland’s recently crowned Elite champions are looking forward to a well-earned Christmas break.
Dean Gardiner, Michael O’Reilly and Brendan Irvine retained their belts following wins over Thomas Carty, Conor Wallace and TJ Waite last Friday night at the National Stadium.
The trio all have one eye on April’s Olympic qualifiers in Istanbul, Turkey.
“I had to push hard the whole way through, from the start to the finish, admitted Tipperary super-heavy Gardiner after his final with Carthy.
“He caught me with a beautiful punch right at the start but because of my fitness I shook it off and did the job.”
“It’s my dream, it’s going to be very tough (qualifying for Rio) but I’m going to give it my best go,” added the Clonmel BC super-heavy.
Michael O’Reilly, the current European Games champion and World Elite medallist, sees Istanbul as his next hurdle.
“In the last round I stepped it up a bit, put a bit of pressure on him and made things certain, said the Portlaoise BC middleweight after the 75kg decider.
“We’ll enjoy the Christmas while we get the chance. Getting back now and getting ready for the Olympic qualifiers in April, that’s the next hurdle for me.”
Irvine beat TJ Waite to become the first Irishman to win two Elite belts at two different weights in the same year. The Antrim flyweight, who claimed a light-fly crown in January, admitted that it has been a long year in domestic and international competition.
“It’s been a serious season for me, I haven’t stopped.It’s been a long year but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, “ said the St Paul’s BC ace, a European Games silver medallist.
“I’ll just take it step by step and if it’s there it’s there, if not, I’m still young,” he added in relation to the Olympic qualifiers.
Irvine also scooped the Best Boxer Award at the Elites last Friday.