STEPHEN Broadhurst became the first Louth person to capture a European Youth Boxing Championship medal when he picked up a bronze medal in the last week of August.
The Dealgan boxer, fighting at middleweight, was beaten in the semi-finals by eventual winner Rauf Rashimov, but at least it secured him a prestigious bronze medal, making him the first boxer from Co Louth to achieve the feat.
After fighting three gruelling bouts in a week at the tournament held in the City West, Dublin, Broadhurst (17) was pitted against Rashimov, a fighter with a catalogue of international experience under his belt.
Pipped by two points, it ended a sensational story for the boxer who has taken Ireland by storm in the past year.
At the start of the year, he won the National Open Youth Championships, which followed on from his Irish Under-18 title and IABA Junior Boxer of 2010 awards.
Coming into the competition, there was high hopes for the Muirhevnamor youth and after coming through a relatively comfortable first match, he was looking good according to his father and coach, Tony.
“His first fight was against Bruno Knjezevic of Croatia. He won that 9-6 but he was very comfortable in it and it was exactly the fight he needed to settle himself for the tournament. He picked up the scores early and did what he needed.”
If Broadhurst’s first match was comfortable, then that could not be said if his second match, against Nathan Thorley, which Tony described as an “absolute slug fest”.
“He was a lot taller than Stephen which was strange because Stephen is a very tall middleweight. He was all heart Thorley. They just let it go as that was Thorley’s style, to fight with his heart.”
In the second round, Stephen caught Thorley with a tremendous shot which had the Welsh fighter back-peddling for the rest of the fight, allowing Broadhurst to pick up a 20-8 win, setting up a quarter-final spot against Grant Quigley of Scotland.
“He was highly rated”, said Tony. He came into the contest high on confidence after a string of good wins, but negative tactics by Grant were quickly spotted by Broadhurst who adapted his game to take the win.
“Grant just held his hands up the whole time, trying to pick out scores, but Stephen out boxed him and he had no plan B.”
Winning the fight took all pressure off Broadhurst as he was now guaranteed a medal, regardless of the outcome against Azerbaijan’s Rashimov.
“He’s a very clever fighter”, said Broadhurst senior of Rashimov. “He’s a handful and is very composed in the right. He tried to stop Stephen boxing and knew how to use his gameplan.
The second round saw Stephen go for the jugular in a round which Tony thought Stephen had won.
“By the third round, the two of them seemed to be on empty as they gave it their all in the second.”
But in the end, two judges opted for Stephen, two opted for Rashimov and one said it was a draw.
As a result, the two judges who marked the fight as a close contest have their scores picked as the overall decision and on this occasion, the fight went to Rashimov, when went on to win the final.
“I thought, in Ireland, we might have got that decision”, sai Tony.
Looking back though, Tony is delighted with the performance of his son.
Ireland picked up five medals at the event, making it 16 medals won at this level since 1978.
“I’m delighted for him. It’s a great achievement to win a European medal”, said Tony.
The family now surely have a place in Irish fight history as Stephen has a European Youth Championship bronze medal and eight Irish titles to his name. Sister Amy has five Irish titles, whilst brothers Paul and Tony Jnr have three Irish titles between them.
The Dundalk Democrat would like to congratulate Stephen and his family on this magnificent achievement.