Jack McGivern came through a thrilling battle in his Ulster Elite Boxing Championships’ 63.5kg quarter-final against Jon McConnell at Girdwood Community Hub last night.
The St George’s man made much the better start and while McConnell came right back into it to make it a nervy wait for the verdict, it was McGivern who had won over three of the five judges.
After a brief period of feeling out, this fight exploded into life with McGivern landing a pair of huge lefts that had his Holy Trinity opponent on the back foot and finished the round strong with back hands and a right to the jaw on the bell.
McConnell settled during the break and looked a lot more assured in the second as he began to find his range in a much closer round, but it was McGivern who shaded it with some excellent counters.
While McGivern clearly tired in the final frame with McConnell pushing on, he was able to see it out and claim a place in tonight’s semi-final against Monkstown’s Robbie Gould.
“Jon is a top operator,” said McGivern. “We are probably the top two in this competition and that was a barnburner of a fight.
“I had to stay switched on. It was a tough fight and very tiring mentally, but it was great.”
The opening bout of the night was a 60kg quarter-final and Emerald’s Dominic Bradley edged home on a 3-2 split against Cookstown’s Teo Alin.
Bradley took a little while to warm into the opening round, but began to find a home for his right hand with a couple of flush shots.
Alin improved in the second and seemed a little busier as it seemed all to play for in the final frame, but Bradley had won over enough judges to advance into a semi-final with Erne’s Rhys Owens tonight.
In the 75kg semi-finals, Emerald’s Jake Tucker proved too strong for Cavan’s Stephen Flynn, winning a unanimous verdict, while Lex Weston took little time in joining him with a first round victory over Cairn Lodge’s Jordan Hamilton.
The Ardoyne Holy Cross man forced a count midway through the opening round and a follow-up flurry saw the referee step in after the towel had come in.
The super-heavyweight semi-finals saw Cavan’s Thomas Maughan force a second round standing count on his way to a unanimous decision against Gilford’s William McCartan, while Carrickmore’s Aaron Travers dropped Denis Boriskins in the first and second rounds to defeat the Sacred Heart, Newry man on a unanimous decision.
The remaining semi-finals take place back at Girdwood Community Hub this evening. Boxing begins at 7.30pm.