Dealgan Boxing Club’s latest rising star, Kalum McConville, confounded the experts by winning the National Senior Cadet Championship despite being just 14 years of age.
After reaching two All Ireland finals, only to lose out narrowly in both, the Patrick Street talent entered the championships very much the underdog. The Senior Cadets are the cream of the crop at 14 and 15-years of age, many of whom are current Irish champions.
Finding himself paired off against bigger, stronger boys of 15-years of age, Kalum had it all to do in each of his three fights.
His first fight was a quarter final in the 50kg category against former Irish champion Stephen Barrett from Castlebar. Kalum started strongly and, far from being overawed by the occasion, took the fight to his opponent right from the opening bell.
Kalum’s superior technical ability, combined with positive mental attitude ensured that he was three points ahead at the end of the first round and due to his clever movement and tight defence in the second and third rounds his opponent was unable to recover and Kalum ran out a worthy winner.
For his semi-final, he again found himself squared off against a strong and talented 15-year-old in the shape of Piaras Casey from St John’s BC, Derry.
However, just as in his previous fight, Kalum defied the odds, showing buckets of courage and heart and found himself in the lead at the end of the first round.
He stuck to the game plan and protected that lead right through the second and third rounds with some wonderfully clever movement and long range boxing and again won this fight by a single score to take him into the final against current Irish champ Colm Molloy, Oughterard BC, Galway.
Despite the fact that Kalum had boxed so well in his previous fights both he and his coaches, Jim O’Connor and Anto Donnelly, knew that all would have been for nothing if he didn’t win, this, his final fight, so between them, they decided to stick to the game plan which had proved so successful up that stage; establish an early lead and then to protect that lead with slick movement and tight defence.
In a packed National Stadium, Kalum stepped into the ring for the last time and despite the nervous, very tense atmosphere, Kalum knew that if he stuck to the tactics he had a very realistic chance of achieving his goal.
When the bell went to commence the fight it was obvious that neither boxer was prepared to give anything away as both kept their defences very tight until Kalum scored with a long, fast left hand which resulted in his opponent opening up and contributed to the first round being a very exciting one with no quarter given and when the bell sounded to end the first Kalum knew he had it all to do as the score was three all.
In the second Kalum’s opponent decided to bring the fight to the Dundalk man but soon became discouraged when he was caught with some delightfully crisp, hard, straight punches to both head and body and when the bell went at the end of the second Kalum this time was ahead by a couple of scores.
By the time the bell sounded for the third and final round the Dealgan corner knew that it would be difficult for the opponent to recover due to Kalum’s clever movement.
But just to make sure of the decision Kalum stepped things up in the last and outscored his opponent by five points to four bringing the overall score to 14 points to 11 in Kalum’s favour.
This is a huge achievement by this young, talented boxer and it now earns him the right to represent Ireland in Bulgaria in a few weeks time.
Any boxing enthusiasts who might be interested in seeing Kalum display his boxing skills locally will get their chance when Dealgan Boxing Club stage their annual show in their clubhouse in Marian Park in the coming weeks. Details will be announced at a later date.
It’s also worth noting that despite Kalum’s obvious boxing ability and despite the quality of the coaching which he receives at Dealgan, that will all be in vain if he hasn’t got the necessary funds to sustain and support him in the next few years as he strives to realise his huge potential. Anybody interested in sponsoring Kalum should contact the club at 087 0528170.