Boxing: Dubliners shine on the national televised stage

by Gazette Reporter
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BY Jonny Stapleton 

Jack Marley showed the nation what the fuss is all about in the National Stadium on Saturday night.

The Monkstown BC fighter was one of the standout performers on National Elite Championship Finals night, claiming the heavyweight crown in stylishly aggressive fashion.

The latest ‘Big Jack’ on the Irish sport scene won the first ever adult contest he entered, defeating Marcin Skalski by unanamious decision to beco  me the second youngest amateur heavyweight in Irish amateur boxing history.

Marley threw bombs from the start, backing Skalski to the ropes and giving an early count as well as making Kenneth Egan purr in the analysis booth. 

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Not afraid to trade, the 18-year-old slugged to the body as the brave and bruised Skalski attempted to stay in there. 

A doctor inspection at the end of the second for Skalski’s damaged eyes may have brought an end to the bout but it went into the third and Marley coasted his way to his first Elite title.  

It will now be interesting to see whether or not the more established Kirill Afanasev, who withdrew from this tournament, or Marley gets selected for the World Championships which take place in Belgrade later this month.

Another teen to announce themselves on the senior scene on the biggest night in domestic amateur boxing was Eve Woods of Corinthians.

Jack Marley of Monkstown Boxing Club, Dublin, right, and Marcin Skalski of Athlone Boxing Club, Westmeath, during their 92kg bout at the IABA National Elite Boxing Championships Finals in the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The underage graduate defeated experienced St Mary’s fighter Gillian Duffy to claim the light welterweight 63kg crown.

Woods was able to negate Duffy’s reach advantage by getting inside and letting big shots go. Duffy did finish strong byt the young talent had done enough to claim victory in the Dublin derby and her first ever adult fight.  

Jennifer Lehane of DCU replaced world-level talent and Olympian Michaela Walsh – who withdrew from the tournament before a punch was thrown – as Irish featherweight 57kg champion.

The tournament outsider dealt with the pressure of Walsh looking on from the TG4 commentary box to beat fellow Dub Kellie McLoughlin.

Lehane was tactically asstute and managed to outland the bigger Driminagh fighter.  

Jack Marley of Monkstown Boxing Club, Dublin, celebrates after his victory over Marcin Skalski of Athlone Boxing Club, Westmeath, during their 92kg bout at the IABA National Elite Boxing Championships Finals in the National Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

European Youth gold medalist Niamh Fay was another to impress but unfortunetly for the Ballyboughal fighter she wasn’t able to secure victory.

The 19-year-old was pitted against Pan American silver medalist Sara Haghightat-Joo, a Candain who now boxes out for St Brigid’s, Offally, and is a genuine Irish Olympic medal hope and came very close to causing a massive upset. 

Indeed, she pushed some people’s fighter of the tournament so close two of the five judges scored the fight in her favour.

Fay ultimately lost on a 3-2 split but put in a performance that suggests she has what it takes to challenge Haghightat-Joo for the the 54kg top spot during this Olympic cycle.  

Jake Rapple picked up Monkstowns second title of the night without having to throw a punch. Rapple was set to challenge Olympic captain Brendan Irvine for the 54kg crown, only for the Belfast fighter to pull out.

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