Ulster working to same August 10 timeline as rest of Ireland says boxing chief Kevin Duffy

Ulster Boxing Council president Kevin Duffy (right) says the provincial body are targeting an August 10 return for clubs, in line with the rest of Ireland. Picture by Hugh Russell
Neil Loughran

BOXING clubs across Ulster hope to be able to reopen on August 10 – in line with their counterparts in the rest of Ireland.

The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) has confirmed that clubs in the south can open their doors on that date, in accordance with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s five-point plan “with strict guidelines in place”.

That statement from IABA president Dominic O’Rourke sparked some confusion about where this left clubs in Ulster, with boxing scheduled to return in stage five of the Northern Ireland Executive's lockdown exit plan – for which there is no provisional date.

Clubs will seek government guidance regarding steps for the safe return of the sport, but Ulster Boxing Council president Kevin Duffy expects the same timeline to be implemented.

“The plan for down south and our own are fairly similar in terms of the different stages,” he said.

“Obviously we don’t have specific dates but there is unanimous agreement, given the circumstances, that the 10th of August is what we’re working towards. That’s a specific date down south but it fits in with what we were thinking.

“It’s a bit of clarity for people because there was a lot of questions being asked around it as well. We’re all agreed that nobody will be doing anything before then, at the earliest, and we are 100 per cent all moving together on this.

“Obviously things can change in terms of what happens and what advice comes out down the line. We made it fairly clear from the beginning that we come back together on an all Ireland basis.

“There is an understanding from Dublin that, in terms of championships, our boxers can’t be disadvantaged if moves are happening quicker in some places compared to others. That’ll not be the case.”

In his statement, O’Rourke said the IABA will produce guidelines for clubs before August 10 “and advise on actions to take to ensure all our boxers, coaches, officials, medics and the general public are protected as much as possible”.

He also said domestic competitions will remain on hold “until such time as it is safe to resume".

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