Hickey loses his national crown
BOXING GRANGECON FIGHTER BEATEN IN FINAL
GRANGECON’S ROSS Hickey is just concentrating on the USA after losing his national senior lightweight title last Friday.
Hickey was beaten 11-7 in something of a local battle by Eric Donovan of the St Michael’s Athy club in a fight that went to the wire.
Donovan captured his fourth senior belt in victory to also become a three-weight champion, having already won titles at bantamweight and featherweight.
And after establishing a lead going into the final round, Donovan was able to run in the third, frustrating Hickey who was forced to chase him, but to no avail.
But just one week after being dethroned, Hickey will have to put his disappointment aside when the USA pay a visit to the National Stadium.
The Irish squad for the two-leg showdown will differ on each night. After coming to Dublin, the Americans will be tested again in Athy next on Monday, March 2.
The Athy fighters on the national stage will be selected on the second night, and it is believed they will sit out the first.
And the Wicklow club’s European bronze medallist wants to take his chance to put his night to forget in the past.
‘I’ll go back to the drawing board, that’s what I have to do now,’ he said.
‘Me and Eric get on well enough, there’s no hard feelings and that’s boxing. I had to go looking for it at the end. But I’ll just have to get the head down and train away for the USA next week.’
Donovan was clearly overjoyed at the final bell, dropping to his knees in delight. By that stage he was carrying the hopes of his illustrious club solely on his shoulders after some of his established teammates fell in shock results.
First on the list is Olympian John Joe Joyce, who was dropped with a crushing right hook from Crumlin’s Phil Sutcliffe in the very first round. He got up but his 19-year-old assailant went for him again and this time left the referee with little option but to stop the fight. Also on the night his cousin David Oliver Joyce lost his belt to Carl Frampton while looking for a fourth title in a row.
The previous week, Athy’s EU gold medallist Roy Sheahan lost his semi-final at 69Kg, so it was clear that Donovan felt he had to restore some pride.
And when he led in the third and final frame, there was no way he was letting Hickey overtake him, despite the ferocious attacks the Grangecon man launched.
Hickey’s corner man Seamie Byrne admitted: ‘It’s not been a good night.
‘Donovan was a bit sharper. The underdog is always fired up isn’t he? But we’ll pick him up, we’re back here next week for the USA.
‘There’s two shows, one at the Stadium and one in Athy. So Ross will box at the Stadium this week. It’s back to the drawing board now.’
And Byrne added that Hickey’s preferred tactic is to wait and launch his own counter-attacks - a difficult approach when trailing in the final round.
‘He had to go forward,’ Byrne said. ‘Donovan enjoyed that. Ross likes a lad to come forward and he can slip off and counter. But when the other fella gets a lead it’s hard to pull it back.’
Hickey will need to put the night behind him quickly as a strong USA force is expected to arrive. Irish Amateur Boxing Association president Dom O’Rourke confirmed that the Irish squad will need to have recovered enough as they will face a huge test.
‘It’ll be good seeing the young American team coming through and I believe they’re putting an awful lot of work into it, O’Rourke said.
‘They’re preparing for 2011 as well because they had a bad Olympic Games so you know America, they’ll go back and they’ll build and this is the new team they have out. It’ going to be quite exciting I’d say.’
Ross Hickey from Grangecon Boxing Club in action against Eric Donovan in the 60 kgs final at the National Senior Boxing Championships finals at the National Stadium, Dublin.