BOXING: Olaniyan bids for first Senior Title

by Jonny Stapleton
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Joshua Olaniyan says the revenge element will make a first Elite final win all the sweeter this weekend.

The teen Tallaght talent secured passage to his second Elite Finals night with victory over reigning Senior [Intermediate] champion Cathal McLoughlin in the only purpose-built boxing stadium in the world on Saturday last.

The Jobstown fighter now renews acquaintances with the Dublin-born Louth-trained Christopher O’Reilly in a repeat of the 2022 middleweight decider, which he lost.

What was at stake rather than who inflicted the defeat is what matters most when it comes to that defeat for the underage graduate but he does admit winning an Elite title by avenging defeat will add to the achievement.

“I think the fact I lost to him in the final last year will make it all a little sweeter. God willing I win it, it will be a nice feeling,” he told the Dublin Gazette.  “I think I’ve done enough to make sure I win it this year.”

Elite success would mean a lot to last year’s beaten finalist and to achieve it whilst still in his teens would mean a lot to the youth international.

“I wanted to win the Elite title at 18 but it didn’t happen for me. To win it this time would mean the world to me and to do it at just 19 would be amazing. I am ready for it and hopefully I get the win.”

Olaniyan goes into the final eager and confident, sure he got his preparation right this time around.

The 19-year-old suggests a focus on fitness meant he didn’t get enough pre-tournament ring time ahead of the last installment.

“I think I over-prepared last year,” he continues.  “This year I know what I’m doing in terms of prep, so I feel more prepared going into the final. I done a lot of road work last year because I used to struggle with my fitness due to having asthma. Now I’ve got the hang of the best way to keep fit, so I got more ring time in the build-up.

“I feel better going into this final and more confident. I am really looking forward to it. I can’t wait to get in there. I’ve confidence in my own ability and I’m more prepared this time.”

Olaniyan and Saturday’s foe, O’Reilly are friendly and well aware of what both bring to the table. As a result, the tall-for-the-weight product of an emerging Jobstown club, says he is prepared for the power his foe brings to the table. “He will try to use his size against me. I think he’ll come in small, he has a power advantage as well and he’ll try use that, but I’m prepared for all that.”

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