Boxers Jason Quigley and William McLaughlin take centre stage this weekend in a bid for further All-Ireland glory for Donegal when they fight in the National Elite Boxing Championships in Dublin on Friday night.
Finn Valley ABC middleweight and current European U-23 champion, Quigley, who is appearing in his third senior final, will go toe to toe with Roy Sheahan, St. Michael’s Athy, while McLaughlin from Illies Golden Gloves, Buncrana, is bidding for a second National Elite title at welterweight, in what is his third National Elite final.
The Illies fighter was last champion in 2009 and he faces the three in-a-row champion and Olympian from last Summer in London, Adam Nolan, Bray Boxing Club, the home club of Olympic gold medal and the golden woman of Irish sport, Katie Taylor.
“The two boys are really up against it as both Rory Sheahan and Adam Nolan are good fighters. Sheahan was a champion at a number of weights and Nolan is the champion from the last two years and of course was a member of the Irish team at the Olympics,” said well known Donegal coach, Peter O’Donnell, who is also PRO for the Donegal Boxing Board.
“But our lads are fighting well. Jason has already beaten the champion, Darren O’Neill, in the quarter-final, and he was very impressive in his semi-final win over Conrad Cummings last weekend. Jason is a very good boxer and is one of the rising young stars of Irish boxing.
“This is his third final so he has plenty of big fight experience. Willliam was champion before and he has been there or thereabouts for the last four to five years. He beat John Joe Joyce in a final and lost to him and he also lost to Roy Sheahan and Adam Nolan in semi-finals.
“Welterweight just like middleweight have been are very competitive weights. I expects our boys to do well. Sheahan was very poor last weekend in his semi-final and won in somewhat controversial circumstances against Colm Coyle from St. Josephs, Derry. He was definitely there for the taking last weekend and if he puts in a similar performance against Jason on Friday night, he will be in trouble and I would expect to see Jason win.
“It is a big night for Donegal boxing and I’m expecting a big crowd from the county in the Stadium on Friday night and hopefully we will be coming down the road afterwards with two champions.”
In his 1991 triumph, William McLaughlin defeated John Joe Joyce, St. Michael’s, with Joyce avenging that defeat the following year in the 2010 final.
The Inishowen man booked his place in the final last Saturday night with a narrow 16-14 victory over Joyce to set up Friday night’s head to head with Nolan. McLaughlin and Nolan have met twice before with one victory each.
“He is a southpaw and an awkward customer. He is tall for a welterweight and has a long reach.
“He is the champion, but I have the work done and my form is good. I was confident going into the Joyce fight last weekend and I’m confident heading into Friday night’s fight,” insisted McLaughlin, who has boxed in the World Series of Boxing over the last few seasons and is currently mulling over a return to the World Series next week.
McLaughlin is currently having treatment on a hip injury he picked up in training ahead of last weekend’s semi-final but he is confident that we will be fine by Friday night.
Donegal already boasts of six National Senior Boxing Champions - Brian Anderson, Ballybofey, light-welterweight; Paddy Doherty, Ballyshannon, light-middleweight; Eamon Coyle, Cranford, super-heavyweight; Danny Ryan, Raphoe, middleweight; Cathal McMonagle, Letterkenny and Holy Trinity, super-heavyweight, and William McLaughlin.