Fighters to take on sectarianism

BOXING champs of the future from north and south will deliver a knockout blow to sectarianism when they meet in the ring in Dundalk later this week.

BOXING champs of the future from north and south will deliver a knockout blow to sectarianism when they meet in the ring in Dundalk later this week.

Young fighters from counties Louth, Cavan and Meath will take on fighters from clubs in Belfast at the ClannNaofa Boxing Academy Dundalk on Saturday, May 28.

The Dundalk event is being held in preparation for the ‘Punching for Peace Youth Boxing Tournament’ at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road, Belfast on June 4.

Event organiser Billy Boyd, BCSDN’s Sports Development Officer said the purpose was to show young people from working class areas that they have much in common.

“Boxing has always been a sport that cuts across the religious divide and this event will help bring young people from different backgrounds together to train and socialise together,” said Mr Boyd.

“Many young people living in working class areas have never met anyone from a different religion so this is an ideal opportunity for them to enjoy their sport and sit down and engage with each other.”

Jim O’Neill from the ClannNaofa Club said he was delighted to accept the invitation to bring young boys up to Belfast to compete in the tournament.

“Boxing in this small island is a unifying experience that brings out the best in people. We have produced many great boxing ambassadors from north and south over the years and will continue to do so,” he said.

In preparation for the tournament young boxers from both sides of the divide met on Saturday, May 21 with their southern counterparts at the Holy Family Club for a joint training session followed by a cultural diversity workshop.

The Belfast clubs involved are Holy Family, Dockers, Midland, Cairnlodge and Saints. The clubs from south of the border taking part are ClannNaofa from Co Louth; Navan, Ashbourne, and Dunschaugalain from Co Meath; and King’s Court from Co Cavan.

Some of the North’s top boxing names will hand out awards at the end of the tournament. They include former Commonwealth Champions, Darren Corbett and Neil Sinclair, Davy Larmour, Carl Frampton and Olympic Bronze medallist Paddy Barnes.

The tournament, which is open to the public, begins at 2pm and the last bout will end around 6pm. The bouts will be three rounds each involving 12-16 age groups.