Brendan Irvine: I'm getting back to my best with Europeans on the horizon
A SORE right hand apart, Brendan Irvine feels he is getting back to the top of his game with the European Championships just six weeks away.
‘Wee Rooster’ admits he has had to limit his sign of peace activity at Mass during recent weeks to let his hand recover, and he was forced to pick and choose when he used it against Russia's Vlacheslav Tashkorackov on Sunday.
The first fight of the day, Irvine – a convincing winner over Russia’s Tamil Galanov on Friday - looked a little rusty as he slipped to a split decision defeat, though he admits he was caught unawares by facing a different opponent than scheduled.
“I was meant to fight him yesterday but I thought it was a completely different fella I was fighting - he hasn’t fought once since he’s been here and you could tell, he looked fresh,” said Irvine.
“I performed alright but I know if I was to fight that fella at the Europeans or Worlds, I could beat him.
“I’d just have to stick to my boxing - I was getting dragged into a fight too much, but it’s all about learning here.
“Today I felt a bit flat but these things happen.”
Despite failing to reach his own high standards on Sunday, the 20-year-old says he is happy heading towards June’s European Championships.
Irvine added: “I’m flying at the minute, I’m feeling good. I felt fantastic the first day.
“Training has been going well, I’m actually enjoying coming down to Dublin whereas I was struggling a bit before Christmas.”
Also Ukraine-bound next month is Kurt Walker.
He scored an impressive victory over Nazir Balaev on Sunday – his second victory over Russian opposition in the space of three days having defeated European Games gold medallist Bakhtovar Nazirov on Friday.
“That’s two Russians I’ve beaten this weekend so you have to be happy with that,” said the Canal counter-puncher.
“Nazirov beat me at the European Games two years ago so it was good to get one back on him, but this tournament was more about working on stuff I never do, so it was great to get three fights in three days.
“I’m going to take four days off here then get back at it because the Europeans aren’t that far away now.”