From Russia with glove

DEALGAN boxer Stephen Broadhurst racked up yet another milestone as he picked up a bronze medal for Ireland at the Paylyukov Memorial Youth Multi-Nations tournament in Anapa, Russia last month.

DEALGAN boxer Stephen Broadhurst racked up yet another milestone as he picked up a bronze medal for Ireland at the Paylyukov Memorial Youth Multi-Nations tournament in Anapa, Russia last month.

Broadhurst spent almost three weeks on the banks of the Black Sea, taking part in a two week training camp before taking part in the 75 kilo middleweight section of the youth tournament which featured boxers from 14 other nations. Ireland were the only western nation to compete at the event.

At the training camp, Stephen sparred with a Cuban and three Russians and, according to his father Tony, it was a very interesting experience.

“The mentality that the Russians have is that they try and put one over on you in the sparring sessions”, explained Tony. “One of the fighters that Stephen was sparring with hit him a low blow. They try to intimidate you so that if you get paired with them in a competition, they have a psychological edge.”

The Russian fighter in question was Syleymanov Amir but his gamesmanship failed to pay off as Stephen comprehensively beat the middleweight 8-0 in the quarter final stage. “A great score to achieve against a Russian fighter in his own country”, said Tony.

Victory over Amir set up a semi-final bout with European medallist Magomed Shabanov. An interesting encounter saw the judges undecided with one scoring the bout 15-4 in favour of the Dundalk fighter and another 6-1 in favour of the Russian. In the end, Shabanov took the decision on a 3-1 scoreline.

“Shabanov’s coaches came to look at Stephen training beforehand”, said Tony. “They got the decision but I’ve seen the video and it’s amazing that Stephen only got one point. He easily should have been awarded an extra five.

“Ireland had six fighters in the semi-finals”, he added. “That’s 54 minutes of boxing across six fights yet they were only awarded one point - Stephen’s. David Joyce made the final but his two points were awarded because the fighter he was up against hit him with a low blow”.

Tony’s view was backed up by Irish coach Eddie Bolger who accompanied the squad alongside Tony Davitt.

“We had a very young squad in Russia. They all boxed incredibly well against some of the best in the world in their age categories but scores are hard to come by out there”.

Next up for the Muirhevnamor teenager is the Irish Under-18 Junior Championships in five weeks where he will be looking to retain his title. Doing so will guarantee him a place on the Irish squad for the European Youth Championships - which will now take place in Dublin and not Armenia - in August. Outside of the ring there is also the matter of the Leaving Certificate to be met head on.

And despite the semi-final loss in Russia, Tony feels the experience will definitely improve Stephen going forward.

“It’s never nice to lose a fight but in hindsight it is probably a good thing. He has the experience now of fighting different opponents and in a different environment. He fought in Italy last year and everything was laid on perfectly. In Russia it was different and he will have to learn to adapt to situations like that.

“Since he arrived come home he has been looking to get stronger and faster. He wants to improve and those three weeks in Russia were a great experience for him”.

gavin@dundalkdemocrat.ie