The past and future of Banbridge boxing was on show at at Havelock Park as the Mid Ulster Championships started with a bang.
Watched by previous boxing heroes from the town, Banbridge teenager Dominic Doyle served up a treat to open up proceedings in the new gym. Doyle, fighting in the Boy 14 years 63kg division, was beginning a journey that he hopes will take him to a national title.
Roared on by a raucous home support he took on Jake McHugh from Two Castles, producing a punishing display to win the contest. In the third round McHugh took a standing count as Doyle showed real potential. He will face Turlough Marks from St Bridget's ABC in the final on Saturday.
Doyle won't be the only Banbridge boxer fighting on finals day when 19 titles will be up for grabs. Banbridge ABC's Conor Martin will feature in the Youth 16 years 57kg title while many will feel the best contest on the bill will be Nathan Young from Gilford ABC taking on Omagh Boys Club boxer Emmett McIlhatton in the Youth 16 years 54kg final.
While thoughts of future prospects were very much in the air in Banbridge at the weekend, there was a nod to days gone by too with Banbridge ABC President Jim Scullion recalling the first ever Mid Ulster Championships held in the town in 1964.
He was delighted to see Banbridge host the event again 50 years on. "It was a great day of celebration for Banbridge and for boxing to host these championships in this absolutely marvellous facility, a great pleasure for me and for all the other past boxers to see it," said Jim.
Club Chairman Martin Casey added that it was a new era for boxing in the town. The Mid Ulster finals begin at 11 am at Havelock Park on Saturday.