Monkstown Boxing Club’s Sean Mari in action

MONKSTOWN Boxing Club’s Sean Mari came up just short in his first title at a National Elite title but his trajectory is only going upward according to coach Pauly Kinsella.

The 18-year-old was beaten by the more experienced Regan Buckley in the 59kg final at the National Stadium on Saturday in his first senior final.

The light-flyweight category may have been removed from the Olympics in 2020 but Kinsella feels the games in Tokyo may have come too soon for the young fighter in any case.

The Nutgrove teenager only returned to competitive boxing this year after taking a year out to complete his Leaving Cert and exceeded expectations given the big step up in levels.

He beat Ederney’s Rory Baird on all five judges’ scorecards in his semi-final bout but was outmatched by the more mature Buckley in his final bout.

Mari, who is currently studying sports and leisure management in Sallynoggin College of Further Education, has aspirations to turn pro but his medium-term ambition is the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

“His goal is an Olympic Games and World Championship and to turn professional and then win world titles,” Kinsella tells the Dublin Gazette.

“But the thing is 49kg being taken out this year and, in all honesty, it wouldn’t be on his radar anyway. He’s only turned 18 and he wouldn’t be physically strong enough yet.

“2024 is definitely his one. He has been brought into the High Performance in Abbotstown with the IABA.”

Mari outclassed the more experienced Baird in his semi-final bout but Kinsella admits he found it tough going against the seasoned campaigner Buckley in the decider.

“When we were going in there, we were quietly confident. Although we were underdogs, we were fairly confident Sean would have the talent to beat him.

“We knew Regan would be stronger physically. He’s older and he’s around a lot longer in terms of elite level, but we were fully confident that Sean would have the talent and skills to outdo all that.

“Regan started fast and Sean got overawed a small bit. Afterwards he was absolutely gutted. He hasn’t felt that bad in the ring in a long time. It was a pity.

“The week before, he brought his A-game and he was fantastic in the semi-final against an Ulster champion. It just didn’t work out for him, unfortunately.”

He hopes to see Mari matched with Buckley again in competition later this year before going onto compete in the under-22s, which he missed out on last year due to injury.

“We were saying to him, ‘remember how you feel now, son. It’s been a long time since you felt like this.’ He was alright about it. He knows exactly what we’re trying to do with him.”