Former WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee is backing the Boys in Green to impress at the 2016 AIBA World Youth Championships in St Petersburg, Russia.
Lee claimed silver at the World Youths, then called the World Juniors, in Santiago de Cuba in 2002, two years before the Limerick southpaw, then boxing out of the St Francis BC on Shannonside, became the only Irish boxer to qualify for the Athens 2004 Olympics after winning bronze at the European Elites in Croatia.
Ireland have three boxers – captain Brett McGinty, Christopher O’Reilly and Paddy Donovan, who claimed silver at the 2015 AIBA World Juniors in St Petersburg – in action tomorrow in St Petersburg.
Lee gave his ex St Francis team-mate Kevin Sheehy and Team Ireland the thumbs up.
“You only have to look at previous Irish boxers who have medalled in the championships and see what careers they’ve gone on to have,” said the three-time Irish Elite champion.
“I wish Kevin and the rest of the team the best of luck. I’m sure they’ll bring home some silverware.”
Lee lost on points to Cuba’s Noelvis Veitia-Dias under the old computer scoring sytem in the 2002 World Youth final in front of thousands of Cuban fans on September 22nd – fourteen years ago.
AIBA World Youth Championships St Peterburg, Russia
(Last 32 unless stated)
60kg Paddy Donovan (Ireland) v Damian Durkacz (Poland) (Last 64)
69kg Brett McGinty (Ireland) V Kuattisak Promchuay (Thailand) (Last 64)
81kg Christopher O’Reilly (Ireland) v Kim Taek Min (Korea)
49kg Jordan Moore (Ireland) v Salah Imberahim (Germany)
52kg Conor Quinn (Ireland) v Elio Crespo-Santos (Cuba)
56kg Eamer Coughlan (Ireland) Toltayayev Samatav (Kazakhstan)
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Matej Uremovic (Croatia) or Mukhammadyusuf Akbarov (Kyrgyzstan)
64kg Gabriel Dossen (Ireland) v Freudis Rojas Jnr. (USA)
91kg+ Kevin Sheehy (Ireland) v Mahammad Abdullayev (Azerbaijan) or Marek Korolkov (Lithuania)
49kg Jordan Moore (Glasnevin)
52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard)
56kg Eamer Coughlan (Riverstown)
60kg Patrick Donovan (OLOL)
64kg Gabriel Dossen (Olympic)
69kg Brett McGinty (Oakleaf) Cpt
75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)
81kg Christopher O’Reilly (Bracken)
91+kg Kevin Sheehy (St Francis)
Team manager: Stephen Connolly
Coaches: Billy McClean and John Conlan
R&J: Ben McGarrigle