Team Ireland are in top form at their final training camp for the AIBA World Elite Men’s Championships which begin in Hamburg, Germany on August 25th at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield, according to head coach Zaur Antia.
The squad are training and sparring with England, Bulgaria, France, Scotland and New Zealand at the home of GB Boxing.
Ireland have sessions lined up for today and tomorrow and return home Friday for a short break before leaving for Hamburg next Tuesday.
“The team have had a very good training came so far and are in top condition, “ said Irish head coach Zaur Antia. “They are all looking forward to Hamburg. Of course it will be tough. The top nations in the world will compete, but our squad have prepared very well for Germany.”
85 nations represented by 280 boxers have qualified for Hamburg 2017 through the five Continental Championships. 260 booked tickets through the qualification process.10 places go to the host nation and 10 to wild cards.
18 medallists from the Rio 2016 Olympics will compete at the 19th edition of the tournament since Havana 1974.
Qualifying for the World Championships is a relatively new concept.It was first introduced for Doha 2015 where Michael Conlan won Ireland’s first (male) gold on the Arabian Peninsula.
Overall, Ireland are lying in 24th position in the all-time World Championships table. Cuba top the lot with an astonishing 71 gold, 32 silver and 25 bronze.
Light-heavy has yielded three World medals for Ireland, courtesy of Stephen Kirk (bronze) and Joe Ward (bronze and silver). Ward and John Joe Nevin are the only Irish (male) boxers to win more that one World medal.
Team Ireland Boxing is no stranger to bringing home World medals from Germany, as Tommy Corr was the first Irish athlete to finish in a podium position at the World Elites at Munich 1982 in the light-middle division.
(Combined with the five gold and one bronze won by Katie Taylor and the silver won by Kellie Harrington, Irish boxing has won 19 medals at the Men’s and Women’s World Elite Championships since 1982).
Ireland’s Medal Winners at World Men’s Championships
71kg Tommy Corr (Bronze)
63.5kg Michael Carruth (Bronze)
51kg Damaen Kelly (Bronze)
81kg Stephen Kirk (Bronze)
67kg James Moore (Bronze)
54kg John Joe Nevin (Bronze)
56kg John Joe Nevin (Bronze)
75kg Jason Quigley (Silver)
81kg Joe Ward (Bronze)
56kg Michael Conlan (Gold)
81kg Joe Ward (Silver)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Bronze)
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan have a “full house” through to Hamburg 2017. Both nations have impressively qualified a maximum of ten boxers apiece for the first major outing in the new Olympic cycle for Tokyo 2020.
Australia, Cuba and England have qualified 9 and India and Ukraine 8, while Italy and Colombia have 7 each over the line and the USA 6.
Ireland, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Korea and Syria have 5 boxers each in the mix.
Irvine, Walker, McComb, Ward and Gardiner qualified for Hamburg 2017 through June’s European Elite Championships in the Ukraine, Ward winning his third gold at this level into the bargain and Irvine and Walker securing bronze.
Irish Squad: World Elite Men’s Championships Hamburg, Germany August 25th/September 2nd
52kg Brendan Irvine (St Paul’s)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal)
64kg Sean McComb (Holy Trinity)
81kg Joe Ward (Moate)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team manager/High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne
Coaches: Zaur Antia, John Conlan and Dmitry Dimitruc
Physio: Seamus Caffrey
Performance Analysis: Alan Swanton
R&J: Ben McGarrigle