DEALGAN boxer Stephen Broadhurst will represent Ireland at the European Championships in August.
The powerful 17-year-old was crowned the National Open Youth Champion at 75kg after a gruelling weekend of boxing and as a result, he will fight for his country at the Championships, which will be held in Yerevan, Armenia.
It is yet another accolade for the fantastic boxer as he was crowned the IABA Junior Boxer of 2010. Along with this, he won the Irish Under-18 title last year.
Speaking to the Dundalk Democrat, his father and trainer, Tony was delighted that his son will now box for his country in the summer time.
“The European Championships is something to look forward to. He will join with the Irish camp this Saturday and they will head over to Russia for a training camp, which will be followed by a tournament.”
Stephen, who won the Irish Under-18 title last year beat Frank Baluski (Mitchelstown) to qualify for the semi-finals. There, he faced Michael O Reilly, a fighter who beat Stephen before, but on this night, an improved and healthier Stephen got the all important win to advance to the final.
In order to be crowned as champion, he had to out-manoeuvre Eamon Tighe in the final as the Ballinacarrow boxer used negative tactics in order to nick a win.
In the last round, Tighe looked to have sealed the win after taking a 2-1 lead in the third courtesy of a right uppercut, but Broadhurst levelled the match in the final 30 seconds.
The result went to a count-back, but judges scored it 5-5, before Stephen was eventually awarded the win. However, the manner displeased Tony.
“One of the judges from Tighe’s region gave him everything, despite the referee having words with Tighe as he rarely threw punches and wanted to defend, to catch Stephen out.
“It’s a horrible tactic as he held his hands tight for the whole bout to stop Stephen scoring and he nearly won the bout 2-1, but with 30 seconds left we told Stephen to keep swinging and he landed a shot, thankfully.”
In the end, judges opted for Stephen, handing him the win. The boxer had trained hard for the fight, something that paid off in the end. However, his chances were nearly wrecked from a football injury, suffered the week before the fight.
“He played football and hurt his ankle”, said Tony. “We only got four rounds of sparring in with him, but he still did it.”
As Stephen joins Team Ireland, Tony will have to take a back seat as Stephen will be trained by the Irish coaches. But this will not deter Tony and from travelling to the European Championships to see Stephen compete.
“Myself and Shelia, (Stephen’s Mother) will use the Armenia trip as a holiday. It will be good though seeing him fight without having to concentrate on coaching him. I’ll be able to shout in things as a spectator though and help him along the way.”
The young boxer now has eight titles to his name and he will be looking to earn his ninth in the European Championships, especially after a hard fought series of matches in the Irish Open.
“In Stephen’s category, there were nine fighters and six of them had championships from Ireland or around the world so it was tough.”