Boxing

Sean McComb moves on from funding disappointment to beat World champion

Holy Trinity light-welterweight Sean McComb on his way to a win over Russia's reigning European and World champion Vitaly Dunaystev. Picture by Hugh Russell

JUST weeks after being told he was no longer one of Irish boxing’s funded athletes, Sean McComb could easily have thrown his toys out of the pram and taken some time away from the sport.

Instead, the west Belfast man bounced back in the most impressive style possible, winning three out of three at the weekend multi-nations tournament in Dublin – finishing off with victory over the reigning European and World champion yesterday.

McComb looked sharp against Vitaly Dunaystev at the National Stadium, keeping the Russian on the end of his long jab on his way to a split decision victory as he continues his transition from lightweight to light-welter.

The 24-year-old is back in the ring in the World Series of Boxing on May 11, turning out for the British Lionhearts against France Fighting Roosters, and says he had no option but to put his funding disappointment behind him.

“There’s nothing really in place for us this year - they’ve just cut the criteria and made the decisions, and unfortunately I wasn’t in it,” said McComb.

“That’s the sacrifices you make, going to Dublin Tuesday to Friday every week for no money is very, very hard. I have to pay bills back home as well, I’ve no time to work, so family is helping me out and even the club, everybody’s playing their part which is giving me that extra wee step.”

Next on the agenda are the European Championships in Ukraine in June and, with a medal place guaranteeing funding for next year and a place at August’s Worlds in Hamburg, McComb now has an added incentive to perform.

He continued: “If I win a medal at the Europeans, which I’m sure I will, I’m going to ask for the funding there and then because you normally have to wait a year for your funding to start.

“Now I’m one of the leaders of the team I have to set an example. I’m doing that. From I moved up and won the seniors, that’s it – it’s all or nothing now.”

McComb was one of five Ulster fighters in action yesterday, with Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine slipping to a split decision defeat against Vlacheslav Tashkorackov in one of the early session fights.

Kurt Walker defeated a second Russian of the weekend, following up his win over European Games gold medallist Bakhtovar Nazirov on Friday with a comprehensive defeat of Nazir Balaev.

“It was my third fight in three days - I was wrecked, my arms are sore, my ears are sore, everything’s sore, but I thought I did well,” said the Irish bantamweight champion.

“I just took him apart in the third round.”

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