Westmeath’s Wayne Kelly believes this will be his breakthrough year after claiming bronze at the Elite Trestin Memorial in Odessa, Ukraine.
The Portlaoise BC light-welter was on the wrong end of a decision to Yuri Shepelyk of Ukraine in Friday’s 63kg semi-final but won plenty of plaudits for posting three victories in three days en route to the last four.
Five Ukrainian judges scored the three rounder which could have gone either way.
“Out of my control (the decision) really but happy to get the fights in. Every fight and every competition is all preparing me to be the best I can become for the Olympic qualifiers in February,” said Kelly.
“I was fortunate to have 4 fights with 3 wins. I’m happy with the coaches help and feedback and looking forward to getting home to recover and regroup, back to the drawing board with my coaches both club and internationally.
“I believe I will have a big breakthrough in the next year with big things happening. I’m feeling very positive going forward,” added the 2018 Irish Elite champion.
Kelly, Ken O’Kungbowa, Tommy Hyde, Emmet Brennan and Aidan Walsh represented Ireland in Odessa. Eoin Pluck and Jimmy Halpin worked Ireland’s corner.
“Great experience this week with a class team. On to the next one now,” said Cork light-heavy Hyde who remarked via social media that the Eternal City wasn’t constructed in 24 hours after bowing out to the Ukrainian No. 2 in the last eight.
“Lost to the Ukrainian today in a tough and awkward fight. It’s never nice to lose but I’ll take it on the chin and learn from it, Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
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The Irish squad are due to arrive home via Dublin Airport at 3.30pm today.
Images: Irish squad and staff at ringside in Odessa.