30 Sept 2022

Oakleaf's Jack Harkin is an Irish champion!

Derry youngster makes his mark in Dublin

Oakleaf Boxing

Oakleaf ABC boxer Jack Harkin and his parents after he became the Irish U18 National 51kg Champion at the weekend.

Oakleaf’s Jack Harkin is on top of the world after becoming the Irish U18 National 51kg Champion in Dublin at the weekend.

The talented youngster, who has put in a lot of hard work this year, saw his efforts come to fruition as he boxed superbly to make it all the way to Sunday’s final where he produced his best performance yet to become champion, really making his mark on those in attendance, who could not help but be impressed with this young prospect.

Jack had three tough contests throughout, beating Carson Hanlon, Olympic Mulllingar, Adam McKenna, Holy Family and Aston Ruth, from Avona in Dublin. He faced each challenge with confidence and determination and eventually came out a deserved champion.

“His first fight was against Carson Hanlon, who was a former Irish champion himself and is from a very good club but Jack beat him well and won 5-0,” coach Eugene O’Kane explained. “On Saturday he then boxed a fellow called Adam McKenna, from Holy Family in Drogheda. He was another Irish champion and Jack beat him 4-1 on a points decision.

“On Sunday he boxed in the final against the reigning U18 champion, against a fellow called Aston Ruth, from Avona in Dublin. Aston had won the U18s last year and went on to box in the European Youth Championships, but Jack was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

“He came out and stormed into a big lead, by winning the first round 5-0 on the judges’ cards. In the second round he won again and he it was the same in the third and final round to take a 5-0 unanimous win. It was very, very impressive and a lot of people were asking ‘Where did this boy come from?”. Jack had moved down to 51 kilos and has been doing a lot of work in the club, and those sacrifices have now paid off.”

The National Championships put boxers in contention for selection for the World Youth Championships which are being held in Alicante in November, and Jack has given himself a great chance of qualifying for them, following in the footsteps of Aaron Greene and Brett McGinty, who both represented Ireland at this level.

“Things are going great for young Harkin,” O’Kane agreed.

There was some disappointment for Bernie Stokes however, who boxed at 60 kilos. Bernie won his prelims last Saturday, but was then beaten by the eventual champion, Avona boxer Lee McAvoy, on a split decision.

“He will have learned from this experience,” O’Kane said. “He knows that he is up there, and the fact that the two boys are still a year young and can enter these championships next year as well gives them another chance to impress. Things are going well for the club on its 30th anniversary later on in the year in November.”


Club re-opening

Oakleaf ABC is re-opening on Monday, August 22 at 7pm for registration. New members are very, very welcome from 11 years and up.

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