Two-time Irish Olympian Phil Sutcliffe celebrates the 40th anniversary of his second successive European Elite bronze this month.
The Dubliner claimed bronze on both sides of the former Berlin Wall in Halle,East Germany and Cologne, West Germany in 1977 and 1979.
On both occasions, Sutcliffe, boxing out of the Drimnagh BC,was beaten by the eventual gold medallists in two different weights.
On May 10,1979, the Irish Elite champion lost his bantamweight (54kg) semi-final to Nikolay Khraptsov of the USSR after beating Zvanko Milicevic of the former Yugoslavia and France’s Kamel Djadda en route to the last four.
Two years prior to that podium finish, 17-year-old Sutcliffe beat England’s Paul Fletcher in the semi-finals but lost to Poland’s Henryk Srednicki for a place in the gold medal match in Halle.
Ireland, courtesy of Sutcliffe, finished in joint 9th place in the medals table at the 1979 Europeans and in joint 11th spot two years later.
Olympic bronze medallist Hugh Russell (Holy Family BC), Phoenix BC pair Mick Holmes and PJ Davitt and Sutcliffe, a four-time Irish Elite champion who is now with the Crumlin BC, represented Ireland in Cologne 40 years ago and Tony Davitt (Phoenix BC) was one of the Irish coaches.
Sutcliffe represented Ireland at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, where Russell won bronze, and the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
He was beaten by Mexico’s Daniel Zaragoza in the 1980 Games and Italy’s Maurizio Stecca, the eventual Olympic bantam champion, four year later in LA.
Zaragoza and Stecca went on the win World titles in the pro ranks.
“I used to attract future Olympic and World professional champions like a magnet in the draw,” said Sutcliffe.
“I enjoyed every minute boxing for Ireland with some great Irish boxers against some of the best in the world.”