herald

Thursday 14 December 2017

Young boxers are knockout - champs

OLYMPIC medallists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlon watched boxing stars of the future go through their paces before a showdown to remember.

The young boxers will take on the finest from five countries over the weekend at the Smithfield Box Fest.

Contenders from Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and Britain will be in Dublin to take on the Irish in the tournament and inter-cultural event at Dublin City Council's Aughrim Street Sports Centre in the city centre.

Around 70 competitors are set to take part.

As they watched the training session from the sidelines, Paddy and Michael were confident about the future of the Irish in the ring.

"They're looking very good," said Paddy, adding that it was great to see so many girls taking up boxing thanks to Katie Taylor's example.

Lucy Pardy (13), from Carpenterstown, a two-times Irish champion in her category, said she took up boxing two years ago and "just liked it".

"I like the training and the hard work," said Lucy, admitting that she does not like her family watching her box.

"My dad is trying to get loads of his family to come along to Box Fest but I don't really want them to come," she told the Herald. "It makes me too nervous."

Organisers said Smithfield Amateur Boxing Club's club's success is all down to head coach Igor Khmil, who also trains the boxing Olympians at the National High Performance Unit.

exciting

Khmil said it is an exciting time for Irish boxing as they look to the Rio Olympics and beyond.

"Boxing is booming," he said. "The Irish style of boxing has a big heart and you're literally born with this. It cannot be taught. But now we're also getting the great technique and philosophy from the Eastern European coaches."

Khmil said he enjoys coaching young boxers because "they can aim for the stars".

hnews@herald.ie

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