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Olympian Irvine through to final on good night for Ulster boxers

By David Kelly

Brendan Irvine marched into the final of the flyweight division at the Irish Elite championships in the National Stadium last night.

In the battle of Belfast with Shankill Road man TJ Waite, Olympian Irvine always seemed to have the edge as he made his natural height and reach advantage tell from the opening round.

Waite, son of former British champion Tommy, never wavered from his desire to make a first Irish final and showed plenty of grit but Irvine, of the St Paul's club, took a unanimous verdict on the judges cards.

Ulster will also have a finalist in the light-flyweight division as Blaine Dobbins edged through to the decider.

In a tight duel with Conor Jordan of St Aidans, Dobbins found the resolve to make the final on a split decision. Dobbins will now seek to follow in the footsteps of Paddy Barnes by taking the 49kg title next weekend.

Lisburn man Kurt Walker will look to land the bantamweight title after securing his place in the decider with a comfortable points victory over Ewan Metcalfe of Crumlin.

Walker, who will be a medal hope at next year's Commonwealth Games, used his sharp footwork and rapid single blows to take every round of his bantam semi with the Dubliner.

Sean McComb continued the run of Ulster victories when he eased into the lightweight final with victory over Dubliner Patrick Lenihan of St Mary's.

Meanwhile, a head cold has forced Jamie Conlan to postpone his clash with Yader Cardoza, which had been set for the Waterfront Hall next Saturday night.

Commonwealth super-flyweight champion Conlan will now meet Cardoza on March 10 at the same venue.

"It's frustrating as I've been working hard and preparing for this fight for the past two months," said Conlan. "I'm gutted that the show has been postponed."

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