JP Hale will get the Northern Ireland boxers under way at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham today when he faces Joshua Tukamuhebwa in the last-32 of the 63.5kg category.
The Star ABC man has been pitted against Uganda’s team captain, who will pose some questions in the sixth bout of the day (boxing begins at midday), but Hale’s recent performances at the European Championships will fill him with confidence he can advance.
The draw for the boxing tournament faced a delay yesterday, but has been relatively kind with five boxers just one win away from a medal.
Jude Gallagher is the only other member of the team who begins in the last-32 and the Two Castles featherweight will meet Zweli Dlamini from Swaziland tomorrow, with the winner advancing to face England’s Niall Farrell, who received a bye.
Recently-crowned world light-welterweight champion Amy Broadhurst is just one win from the podium, but must wait until next Thursday for her Quarter-Final against Zambia’s Felistus Nkandu at lightweight.
Dylan Eagleson will also enter in the last-eight next Thursday when the European silver medallist tangles with Mozambique’s Rugoberto Sigauque at bantamweight.
Olympic bronze medallist and joint-captain Aidan Walsh received a bye into the last-16 at light-middleweight and will begin his bid to turn 2018 silver into gold on Tuesday when he meets either Isaac Ssenyange or Arena Pakela, but should he advance he will likely face Harris Akbar, who took gold at the recent European Championships.
Older sister Michaela is also bidding for gold after silver in the previous two Commonwealth Games and the Tokyo Olympian is also awaiting her opponent in the featherweight Quarter-Final on Thursday with Botswana’s Keamogetse Kenos and Malawi’s Natasha Maya bidding to join her.
Carly McNaul is another silver medallist from 2018 and the Ormeau BC light-fly, who is now ranked No.5 in the world, has a last-16 showdown with Australia’s Kirsty Harris on Sunday, with Jake Tucker also in a last-16 clash on the same day against Guernsey’s Billy Poullain at middleweight, but could run into European silver medallist Lewis Richardson next.
Elsewhere, Holy Trinity’s Clepson Dos Santos has a flyweight last-16 meeting with Ghana’s Samuel Addo who lost out in the 2018 Quarter-Final to Peter McGrail, while Eugene McKeever is in on Tuesday with a welterweight last-16 bout against Zambia’s Stephen Zimba.
Two newcomers to the Games, Nicole Clyde and Eireann Nugent, are in Quarter-Final action on Wednesday.
Antrim’s Clyde has a tricky assignment against India’s Nitu, who reached the Quarter-Finals of the World Championships, while Immaculata’s Nugent is one win away from the podium at middleweight and is awaiting the winner of England’s Jodie Wilkinson against Nigeria’s Bolanie Shogbamu in that bout.
63.5kg L32, Today: John Paul Hale (Star) vs Joshua Tukamuhebwa (Uganda)
57kg L32, Tomorrow: Jude Gallagher (Two Castles) vs Zweli Dlamini (Swaziland)
50kg L16, Sunday: Carly McNaul (Ormeau Road) vs Kirsty Harris (Australia)
75kg L16, Sunday: Jake Tucker (Emerald) vs Billy Poullain (Guernsey)
51kg L16, Monday: Clepson Dos Santos (Holy Trinity) vs Samuel Addo (Ghana)
71kg L16, Tuesday: Aidan Walsh (Emerald) vs Isaac Ssenyange (Uganda) or Arena Pakela (Lesotho)
70kg QF, Wednesday: Eireann Nugent (Immaculata) vs Jodie Wilkinson (England) or Bolanie Shogbamu (Nigeria)
48kg QF, Wednesday: Nicole Clyde (Antrim ABC) vs Nitu (India),
54kg QF, Thursday: Dylan Eagleson (St Paul’s) vs Rugoberto Sigauque (Mozambique)
57kg QF, Thursday: Michaela Walsh (Emerald) vs Keamogetse Kenos (Botswana) or Natasha Maya (Malawi)
60kg QF, Thursday: Amy Broadhurst (St Bronagh’s) vs Felistus Nkandu (Zambia)67kg L16, Tuesday: Eugene McKeever (Holy Family, Drogheda) vs Stephen Zimba (Zambia).