Caoimhin Hynes determined to go out with a bang as pro move looms
Amateur boxing: Liffey Crane Hire Irish Elite Championship finals (tonight, 7.30pm, live on RTE2)
IT could be his last act in an amateur vest and, if it is, Caoimhin Hynes is determined to make it a memorable one.
The Holy Trinity banger takes on Brian Kennedy in the light-heavyweight final tonight, having stunned 2017 beaten finalist Tony Browne last weekend.
A natural middleweight, that was Hynes’s first fight at the 81kg limit, having only agreed to enter the Irish Elites at the last minute, with a move to the paid ranks seemingly imminent.
The 21-year-old has an aggressive pro style, and he held talks with a professional promoter in the weeks after his dreams of going to the Commonwealth Games were ended by Steven Donnelly in the Ulster Elites.
A hand injury picked up in that competition saw Hynes take 10 weeks out of the ring, and he had expected to have turned over by the time he stepped through the ropes again.
Coach Mickey Hawkins had other ideas though, and Hynes now stands one step away from winning an Irish Elite title.
He said: “I took time off after the Donnelly fight because I had a hand injury, and I was planning to turn pro.
“But I started back training a couple of weeks ago, and then the week before [the competition started] Mickey said he wanted me to do the seniors. I told him my weight was terrible – even if I moved up I was still a stone over that weight. I had Friday and all day Saturday to lose it, I did that and made the weight.
“But then I was away in Amsterdam for five days, I wasn’t doing any training. When I came back I trained from Monday to Friday, and it was a good win over Tony Browne, who is seen as an up-and-coming star of Irish boxing.
“He only lost to Joe Ward on a split decision in the final last year so it was a big scalp, but I wasn’t surprised. Even at the heavier weight I believe I have the boxing ability to beat anybody on my day. The only person I would say would be stronger than me at 81 would be Ward.
“I didn’t really want to go out on a loss, and this is a great opportunity for me to win an Irish senior title. It’s mine for the taking.”
Victory over the highly-rated Kennedy – who lost to Conor Wallace in the final of the U22s last month – could see Hynes gain international recognition with Ireland.
But he admits that, regardless of what happens tonight, some big decisions lie ahead.
“I’ve had a meeting with a management company, they’re interested in signing me.
“At the moment I’m trying to sort out sponsorship and a trainer. I didn’t want to jump into anything – there’s no point signing a contract when you don’t have a trainer. It’s just seeing who’s going to suit my style best and where I can learn.
“If I win on Saturday it opens a lot of doors for me. It could keep me amateur, but I’ll take one step at a time and see how things go.”
Hynes is one of five Ulster boxers in action tonight, with European Union gold medallist Michaela Walsh – who is in training for the upcoming Commonwealths – taking on Mulhuddart’s Dervla Duffy in the 57kg final.
Conor Quinn will become Clonard’s first Irish Elite champion since 1970 after taking the 52kg title on a walkover, and club-mate Caoimhin Ferguson hopes to join him when he faces Wayne Kelly in the light-welterweight decider.
Newry native Eugene McKeever, of the Holy Family club in Drogheda, goes in against Kieran Molloy in the 69kg final, while the fight of the night could be Brett McGinty (Oak Leaf) versus Portlaoise’s Michael Nevin at middleweight.
Ricky Nesbitt from Carrickmacross, meanwhile, goes after the light-fly title against Conor Jordan of St Aidan’s.
Irish Elite Championship finals
48kg: S Sweeney (St Anne’s) v C Coughlan (Monkstown, Dublin)
81+kg: L Browne (Aglish) v N Fox (Rathkeale)
54kg: L Hogan (St Brigid’s) v A Loughlin (St Michael’s)
51kg: C Smith (Virginia/DCU) v N Early (Ryston)
60kg: A Broadhurst (Dealgan) v K Harrington (St Mary’s)
57kg: D Duffy (Mulhuddart) v M Walsh (Monkstown, Antrim)
91kg: K Sheehy (St Francis’s) v K Afanasev (Smithfield)
91+kg: M Keenan (Rathkeale) v D Gardiner (Clonmel)
69kg: G Walsh (Sparticus) v C Ginty (Geesala)
69kg: K Molloy (Oughterard) v E McKeever (Holy Family)
75kg: B McGinty (Oak Leaf) v M Nevin (Portlaoise)
49kg: R Nesbitt (Carrickmacross) v C Jordan (St Aidan’s)
56kg: E Metcalfe (Hyland Academy) v T McCarthy (Setanta)
64kg: W Kelly (Portlaoise) v C Ferguson (Clonard)
60kg: G Bates (St Mary’s) v F Cleary (Ballina)
81kg: B Kennedy (St Mary’s) v C Hynes (Holy Trinity)
52kg: C Quinn (Clonard) W/O
64kg: J Lambe (Carrickmacross) W/O
75kg: A Burke (St Mary’s) W/O)
81kg: A O’Rourke (Castlerea) W/O