Irish boxers get ready to rumble after European Games draw
Boxing: European Games
BELFAST’S James McGivern will be the first Ulster fighter in action at the European Games in Minsk when he steps between the ropes on Sunday.
The St George’s stylist - who won Commonwealth Games bronze at 60kg last year - has since moved up as a result of a change in Olympic weights, and goes into his first major international competition at light-welter.
First up for McGivern in the Belarussian capital is a round of 32 clash with Slovakia’s Michal Takacs. However, a much tougher task awaits if he comes through that contest, with number one seed Hovhannes Bachkov of Armenia up next.
Meanwhile, reigning European Union champions Kurt Walker and Michaela Walsh both make their bow at the last 16 stage on Monday.
Fourth seed Walker - who is on the same side of the draw as Liverpudlian rival and number one seed Peter McGrail - faces the winner of today’s clash between Romania’s Eusebiu Jitaru and Zhirayr Saeqsyan from Armenia.
Defending bantamweight champion Bakhtovar Nazirov, who ended Walker’s European Games dream in Baku four years ago, is on the other side of the 56kg draw.
Featherweight Walsh has been paired with Lenuta Perijoc, and will go into that fight with confidence having edged past the Romanian at last year’s World Championships in India.
Should she progress, the two-time Commonwealth Games silver medallist will face number one seed Ornella Wahner. The pair last met at the 2011 World Junior and Youth Championships in Turkey, with the German getting the nod, 18-17.
Galway welter Kieran Molloy and Laois middleweight Michael Nevin will hope to get the ball rolling for Ireland when they enter the ring tomorrow.
Molloy is up against Goce Janeski (Macedonia), while Nevin takes on Team GB’s Mark Dickinson. Light-fly Regan Buckley has been handed a tough draw after being paired with Bator Sagaluev on Sunday.
Heavyweight Tony Browne will go up against Dzemal Bosnjak of Bosnia & Herzegovina on the same day, while reigning world champion Kellie Harrington enters the fray at the quarter-final stage on Wednesday.
European Games draw
Tomorrow (Irish boxers first)
69kg: K Molloy v G Janeski (Macedonia)
75kg: M Nevin v M Dickinson (Team GB)
Last 32 and 16
49kg: R Buckley v B Sagalvev (Russia - last 16)
64kg: J McGivern v M Takacs (Slovakia - last 32)
91kg: A Browne v D Bosnjak (Bosnia & Herzegovina - last 16)
Monday, June 24
56kg: K Walker v E Jitaru (Romania)/Z Saeqsyan (Armenia)
57kg: M Walsh v L Perijoc (Romania)
69kg: G Walsh v R Eccles (Team GB)
91+kg: D Gardiner v M Bakhtidze (Georgia)/I Nagy (Hungary)
Tuesday, June 25
75kg: A O’Rourke v V Kebikava (Belarus)
Wednesday, June 26
60kg: K Harrington v I Testa (Italy)/C Rygielska (Moldova)