By Jonny Stapleton
The man whose name was on everyone’s lips at the National Stadium on Saturday says the fight fraternity would really have something to talk about if he had of trained going into the National U22 Championships.
Gareth Dowling came from nowhere to emerge from a talent packed 67kg weight class as Irish champion, literally
bulldozing his way to a first Irish title win and into the consciousness of all fight followers.
The Dublin Dockland’s fighter showed freakish and frightening power en route to the prestigious underage title win, stopping three opponents, including a World Championship medal winner, and handing out two standing eight counts to the fighter that did manage to go the distance with him.
It was an extraordinary Championships that put the ambitious Dub on the map and one he argues could have been more impressive if he’d had a proper lead-in.
“Imagine if I actually trained,” he said after the win.
“Truth be told this is me coming back after seven months out from two broken hands, coming in a bit unfit, with just one running session and two spars under my belt.
I had one spar with [professional fighter Pierce O’Leary and one spar in the local community centre.
“That was it and then into the 22s the week later.”
Dowling claims he always had power but finds the trick in unleashing it is not to go looking for the big shots.
The Dockland’s fighter also says he isn’t defined by his ability to punch, although admits it comes in very handy especially when your opponents can trump you in terms of activity and thus sharpness.
“The power comes naturally and it comes easier if I don’t try,” he adds.
“I have great boxing ability but power comes in handy when you are not flying fit like these lads.
“These lads had 20 fights each in the last year. You have to understand I’m out of the ring since last March,” he adds before suggesting he is not a one-hit wonder.
“I’m not just here for one Championship. I’m here to stay.”
Dowling’s club-mates Gavin Rafferty and James Whelan also won titles on an action-packed Saturday, roving themselves the best at the age group in the 7kg and 80kg categories.
Chloe Gabrielle of Mulhuddart added to her Irish title collection with a win over Robyn Murrin, while Winnie McDonagh of Neilstown and Martin McDonagh Crumlin won titles via walkover.
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