World Elite finalists Joe Ward and Kellie Harrington are included on a 12-strong Irish squad for the Nicolae Linca Golden Belt multi-nations in Romania.

The tournament begins in Galati City on September 25 and runs until September 30.

Team Ireland is building toward November’s European Union Championships in Spain while the AIBA World Women’s Elite Championships take place in New Delhi the same month.

Current national Elite champion Kieran Molloy, pictured above. is delighted to get the opportunity to test himself in Galati.

“Preparations have went brilliantly for the Golden Belt tournament in Romania. It’s a good tough multi-nations with a lot of country’s number 1 teams competing, he said.

Ireland is the No. 1 boxing nation in the EU since the inaugural 2003 tournament in France.

Irish male boxing, with 32 medals, 12 of which are gold, are in No. 1 spot in the all-time medals table. Irish female boxing is in 7th spot in the all-time table with 14 medals, six of which are gold, courtesy of Katie Taylor (5), who has since switched codes, and current champion Michaela Walsh who is on the Irish squad for Romania.

Molloy, who won his first Elite belt earlier this year and also scooped the Best Make Boxer Award at the National Stadium, wants to maintain Ireland’s EU dominance in Spain.

“This (Golden Belt) is a great tournament to lead us into the EU’s in November where myself and the team will be aiming to dominate and stand on the top of the podium,” added the Galway welter.

Meanwhile, Cavan flyweight Ceire Smith and the Irish women’s squad – and three-time European Elite champion Joe Ward – trained at the English Institute of Sport last week with Team GB. Olympic and World pro champion Anthony Joshua, pictured with Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh and Grainne Walsh, took part in the training camp.

“Everything went very well in Sheffield and we got a lot of work done. I’m looking forward to Romania as it will give me the opportunity to see where I’m at and test myself,” said Smith.


Nicolae Linca Elite Golden Belt Galati, Romania September 25/30

Irish squad


52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard)

56kg Kurt Walker (Canal)

64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)

69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard)

75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)

81kg Joe Ward (Sparticus)

91kg Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield)

91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)


51kg Ceire Smith (Cavan/Virginia)

57kg Michaela Walsh (Monktown)

60kg Kellie Harrington (St Marys)

69kg Gráinne Walsh (Sparticus)


Zauri Antia

John Conlan

Tom Murray

Team Manager

Eugene O’Kane


Séamus Caffrey

Loughlin Gannon