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Stephen McMonagle out to impress against Anthony Joshua sparring partner

Stephen McMonagle takes on New Zealander Patrick Mailata today, with a Commonwealth Games bronze medal at stake
Neil Loughran

STEPHEN McMonagle is hoping to take Patrick Mailata from the frying pan straight into the fire when they meet in the super-heavy last eight this afternoon.

New Zealander Mailata flew to Australia from Sheffield after helping Anthony Joshua prepare for his world title showdown against his fellow Kiwi, and one time opponent, Joseph Parker.

The 23-year-old returned Down Under in time to take part in the pre-Commonwealths training camp in Canberra, where he sparred several rounds with McMonagle before the draw brought them together.

Joshua – who defeated McMonagle’s older brother Cathal at the 2011 World Championships – went on to do the business, but McMonagle is determined to make sure Mailata’s journey doesn’t get off the ground.

“He’s part of the British Lionhearts team in the WSB so he’s involved at Sheffield, he knows the English boy, Frazer Clarke, well too,” said the Letterkenny man, who boxed out of the Holy Trinity club in Belfast.

“He’s probably quite similar to Parker, I presume that’s why they brought him in, and I’d say it’ll be a tough fight. It was good, close sparring, he’s a big strong fella and I’m expecting it to be a very competitive fight.

“He counter-punches, he switches… he’s more skilful than he looks. You need to watch him, you can’t afford to take any sloppy punches. He’s probably slightly taller but he’s a good bit heavier – I’m around 100 kilo, I’d say he’s probably 120. He’s heavy made.

“He’s more skilful than he looks but my plan will be to control from centre ring, use my jab, double jab, triple jab, plenty of feints and speed – just always keep him occupied.

“It’ll be good to finally get in there and get the show on the road.”

Former rugby league player Mailata, who lost in his first fight at the 2014 Games in Glasgow, believes he is ready for anything the Gold Coast has to offer after working alongside Joshua.

He said: “I handled myself alright in the ring and I'm confident that if I can dance with him I can basically dance with anybody.”

Michaela Walsh is in action this morning against Botswana’s Keamogetse Kenosi. Picture by Hugh Russell

WALSH SIBLINGS TO LEAD THE CHARGE ON BIG DAY FOR TEAM NI

THE Walsh siblings, Aidan and Michaela, lead the charge on a potentially huge day for the Team NI boxers that could see another five medals added to the one already secured by Kristina O’Hara on Sunday.

O’Hara overcame Lynsey Holdaway to ensure she returns to Belfast with at least a bronze, and she has the opportunity to change that tomorrow morning when she faces New Zealand’s Tasmyn Benny in the 48kg semi-final.

Five fighters have the opportunity to join her today, with Aidan and Michaela both in action. 2014 silver medallist Michaela begins her campaign against Botswana’s Keamogetse Kenosi in the early hours, with welterweight hope Aidan taking on New Zealand’s Leroy Hindley at around 10.45am this morning.

In between, heavyweight Damien Sullivan faces home favourite Jason Whately in the 91kg quarter-final, while bantamweight Kurt Walker steps up his bid for gold against Moroke Mokhotho.

The 27-year-old from Lesotho qualified for the Rio Olympics at flyweight, but lost in his first bout to Morocco’s Achraf Kharroubi.

Finally today, super-heavy Stephen McMonagle is up against Kiwi Patrick Mailata, though there are more leading the medal charge early on tomorrow.

Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine, who easily saw off Jabali Breedy from the Bahamas in their last 16 clash yesterday, faces Rajab Mahommed (Botswana), O’Hara takes on Benny, and Alanna Nihell aims to replicate her bronze medal from four years ago when she takes on England’s Paige Murney.

The pair have a bit of previous, having met in the 64kg semi-final of the English national championships in 2016, with Murney getting the nod on a split decision on that occasion.

However, boxing at Nihell’s more familiar 60kg, she will be keen to even up that score.

SCHEDULE

TODAY

57kg quarter-final: Michaela Walsh v Keamogetse Kenosi (Botswana) (3.15am approx)

91kg quarter-final: Damien Sullivan v Jason Whately (Australia) (6.15am approx)

56kg quarter-final: Kurt Walker v Moroke Mokhotho (Lesotho) (9.30am approx)

69kg quarter-final: Aidan Walsh v Leroy Hindley (New Zealand) (10.45am approx)

91+kg quarter-final: Stephen McMonagle v Patrick Mailata (New Zealand) (12.15pm approx)

TOMORROW

48kg semi-final: Kristina O’Hara v Tasmyn Benny (New Zealand) (3.15am approx)

60kg quarter-final: Alanna Nihell v Paige Murney (England) (4.15am approx)

52kg quarter-final: Brendan Irvine v Rajab Mahommed (Botswana) (5.15am approx)

75kg quarter-final: Steven Donnelly v Henry Tyrell (Samoa) (5.45am approx)

51kg quarter-final: Carly McNaul v Ayisat Oriyomi (Nigeria) (9.45am approx)

60kg quarter-final: James McGivern v Jean John Colin (Mauritius) (11am approx)

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