Seconds Out: Talented James McGivern is hoping for a bigger and better 2017
THERE wasn’t much to celebrate for Irish boxing in 2016 and one man who wasn’t sorry to see the clock approach midnight on New Year's Eve was James McGivern.
Regarded as one of the hottest prospects in the country, and touted as a possible long-term successor to Michael Conlan at 56kg, the 19-year-old was hoping for big things in his final year before moving up to senior company.
And while he won an Irish U18 title in June before catching the eye in a pre-Olympic test match against Russia at the National Stadium, the St George’s stylist looks back on 2016 with a mixture of frustration and disappointment.
A controversial loss to a Russian - not the only one to befall an Irish bantamweight last summer - saw McGivern stumble at the first hurdle of the European Youth championships, before he dropped a split decision to Eamer Coughlan in the U18 Championships.
With 2017 just days old, McGivern has the chance to avenge that defeat this weekend when he faces Coughlan in a top-of-the-bill rematch on a blockbusting County Antrim v Riverstown (Cork) clash at the Devenish Complex this Saturday night.
After that, he will turn his attention to the national U22 championships before plotting his first assault on the Irish Elites in February: “It’s another fight, another chance to shake off any ring rust after Christmas and it’s fallen perfectly before the U22s,” said McGivern, who turns 19 later this month.
“The night we fought at the U18s, I had tonsillitis. Leading up to it, I wasn’t going to fight, I was just going to leave it, but me being me I thought I could do it and be grand.
“Eamer is a workhorse, he likes to come forward and fight. Between that and me having tonsillitis, it was a terrible combination. But there’s no bad blood between us, me and Eamar have been away in camps and stuff and we’re good friends but there is a part of me that wants to get the win back, of course. I’m not going to say I’ll knock him out because he beat me, but we’re two great boxers, so it should be a good fight.”
Having failed to match his own high expectations last year, McGivern is determined to remind the boxing public exactly why he is so highly-regarded as the countdown to Tokyo 2020 begins.
“2016 wasn’t a great year for me or Irish boxing in general really,” added the 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games gold medallist.
“My plans at the start of the year changed dramatically throughout the year, but these things happen. That’s the sport we’re in, it’s how you bounce back from disappointments that matters.
“I had a great youth, schoolboy and junior career but I’m brand new to this now. I’m stepping into the big boys’ game, but I want to let everyone know that James McGivern’s still here.”
Saturday, January 7 (first bout 7pm)
County Antrim v Riverstown BC Select (County Antrim names first)
Age 9 32kg: J McAughey (Ormeau Road) v A Noonan; Age 10 39kg: D Jones (North Down) v D Murphy; B1 38.5kg: D Harrigan (Scorpion) v D Buckley; B1 37kg: L Ward (All Saints') v K Dunne; B2 37kg: K McGreevey (Holy Trinity) v J Collins; B3 48kg: S Kearney (Clonard) v T Twohig; B4 50kg: B Blair (North Down) v M O’Driscoll; G3 44kg: A Mawhinney (Bangor Abbey) v L Coffey; G5 52kg: M McNulty (Rathfriland) v M Coffey; G6 52kg: O Grant (Carryduff) v O Rafferty; G5 54kg: M Neill (Canal) v D McSweeney; G6 60kg: E McKee (All Saints') v N Russell; G6 54kg: S McKenna (Holy Family) v T Hegarty; Y1 57kg: G Arthurs (Gleann) v T Hegarty; Y2 60kg: T Heaney (Scorpion) v S Damery; Y1 52kg: J McArdle (Ligoniel) v J Connors; Y2 60kg: B Ferran (Clonard) v D Murray; Y1 57kg: L McKee (Star) v C Walsh; Y1 60kg: F Duffin (All Saints') v S Butler; Y2 66kg: T Duffy (Clonard) v P Dunne; Senior 64kg: C Ferguson (Gleann) v J Pelan; U18 60kg: J McGivern (St George’s) v E Coughlan
January 13-14: National U22 and novice championships (National Stadium); January 16-18: Antrim 3s BG1-7 (Girdwood Hub); January 20-21: National U22 and novice championships (National Stadium); January 27-28: National U22 and novice championships (National Stadium); January 31-February 2: Antrim 6s BG1-7 (Belfast)
February 3-4: National Elite championships (National Stadium); February 10-11: National Elite championships (National Stadium); February 14-16: Antrim BG4-7 championships (Belfast); February 17: National Elite championship finals (National Stadium)
March 3-5: National Boy 4/junior 1 & 2 (National Stadium); March 10-11: National Boy 4/junior 1 & 2 (National Stadium); March 13-22: EUBC European Confederation U22 Championships (Braila, Romania); March 17: Senior Elite international (National Stadium); March 18: National Boy 4/junior 1 & 2 finals (National Stadium); March 24-25: International junior/youth competition (Belfast); March 28-30: Antrim BG123 Championships (Belfast)
April 18-22: National B123 Championships (National Stadium)
May 5-7: National G1-6 Championships (National Stadium); May 12-13: National G1-6 Championships (National Stadium); May 12-21: EUBC European women’s youth/junior; May 19-20: National G1-6 Championships (National Stadium)
June 9-10: National Junior Cadet championships (National Stadium); June 14-25: EUBC European Elite Men’s championships; June 16-17: National Junior Cadet championships (National Stadium); June 23: National Junior Cadet championship finals (National Stadium); June 29-30: Monkstown International Box Cup (Dublin)
July 1-2: Monkstown International Box Cup (Dublin); July 7-8: National Senior Cadet championships (National Stadium); July 14-15: National Senior Cadet championships (National Stadium); July 17-26: EUBC European Schoolboy championships; July 19-23: Commonwealth Youth Games (Nassau, Bahamas); July 21: National Senior Cadet championship finals (National Stadium)
August 12-21: EUBC European Junior championships; August 25-September 3: AIBA World Boxing championships (Hamburg, Germany)
September 1-12: EUBC European Youth championships; September 8-9: National Youth/U18 championships (National Stadium); September 15-16: National Youth/U18 championships (National Stadium); September 22: National Youth/U18 championship finals (National Stadium); September 28-October 1: Celtic Box Cup (Dungarvan)
October 5-7: Smithfield Boxfest (Smithfield BC); October 13: Home international (National Stadium); October 13-15: Esker All Female Box Cup (Esker BC); October 28-30: Belfast Open BG1-7 (Belfast)
November 10-11: National Senior championships (National Stadium); November 17-18: National Senior championships (National Stadium); November 24-25: National Senior championships (National Stadium)
December 1: National Senior championship finals (National Stadium)