Gold at the European Youth Championships sees Cabra BC teen become a teen senstation

by Jonny Stapleton
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jonny stapleton

The Cabra BC fighter was one of the stand-out performers in the European Youth Championships, impressing his way to the top of the podium in Sofia last week.

The Dubliner navigated passage through a talent-packed light-middleweight field to claim continental gold in his first-ever International tournament.

The 17-year- old’s national credentials were well known considering he has won seven underage Irish titles – and the fact he was chosen to co-captain the 24 strong team indicated he had the respect of the selectors.

However, he was unproven on the International stage before traveling to Bulgaria. He quickly went about changing that and but for a marauding knockout loving English heavyweight, Flood may have won Boxer of the Tournament such were his Euro Youth displays.

The 71kg Irish representative secured a walk over the at the semi final stage but still had to win four fights to secure gold.

He accounted for France, Georgia and Germany’s best with relative ease before defeating the more experienced Gabriele Guidi Rontani of Italy in the final.

Flood becomes only the fifth male European Youth gold medallist following the footsteps of Olympian Cathal O’Grady, World Amateur Championship silver medal winner Jason Quigley, European medalist Michael Nevin and pro boxing’s next big thing Gary Cully.

He is also only the second Dub to stand at the top of the podium at the age-grade, following in the footsteps of  Ballyboughal’s European medal machine Niamh Fay.

Even more impressively Flood, who was in the National Stadium to support his Cabra clubmate Senan Kennedy in National Boy Championship action just days after he flew home, can enter the competition again next year.

The teen talent could become the first Irish champion win back to back European Youth golds and the only Irish fighter outside of Amy Broadhurst to medal twice at  under-18 Euro level.

Dublin accounted for three of the record-breaking eight medals team Ireland brought home from the prospect pack tournament.

Georgia McGovern cemented her status as a flyweight to watch out for as she became a two-time European medal winner in Sofia. The Setanta BC, Newbridge trained Tallaght lady was sensationally skillful in her run to the semis but had to settle for bronze after defeat to Filiz Isik of Turkey in the final four.

Another noted underage talent, Winnie McDonagh of Neilstown BC also came home with bronze. At one stage the Clondalkin teen thought she would return empty-handed when victory was handed to her Ukrainian opponent at the quarter-final stage.

However, an Irish appeal stood and McDonagh deservedly progressed to the semi-final where she lost after a very scrapy and ill tempered fight.    

Still she contributed to the team’s record medal haul, proved herself one of the best young talents at her weight in the world and claimed her third European medal.

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