Shercock’s Owen Duffy was victorious in the 71 KG section at the Irish Amateur Novice Boxing Championships at the National Stadium on Sunday. Duffy, who boxes for Carrickmacross, defeated Dublin’s Jason Byrne in the final, winning all three rounds. This was a superb achievement for Duffy, who adds the All-Ireland to the Ulster title that he picked up last year.
The victory, which came just a few days after Duffy celebrated his 20th Birthday, means that he will step up to the Intermediate level for the following season.
Duffy’s career has been on a rapid rise since first donning a pair of gloves just over two years ago. Winning Ulster at 67 KG last year, Duffy returned to go a step further this year having bulked up to the 71 KG grade. “I train twice a day, from Monday to Saturday,” said Duffy, “I get up at 6:30 and go running or cycling before work, then I train for about two hours in the boxing club in Carrickmacross in the evening. Sunday is the only day I take off.”
Work, for Duffy (who is taking a year off from college), is in the Carton Brothers Chicken Processing Plant in Shercock, and they also provide sponsorship in the form of training equipment and food. “I have to watch my diet,” he says, “and the chicken is a great source of protein, so it comes in handy.”
A former footballer who won a County Minor title with O’Raghallaigh Gaels in 2011, Duffy realised that in order to compete at a high level he would have to choose one sport or the other. “They asked me to come back and play again this year, but I wanted to give boxing my all because it’s what I enjoy the most.”
Duffy is trained by Christina and Frick McMahon, and the former is a professional boxer herself who will fight Australian Suzie Q. Ramadan for the IBF World Bantamweight title in Morocco on April 26.
“Christina is a great inspiration for all of us,” said the Shercock southpaw, “when you see how hard she trains and hear some of her stories, you can what hard work will do for you. It’s great to watch her fight and see her doing so well. Other inspirations would be fellow Southpaw, [Argentinian World Middleweight Champion] Sergio Martinez and [Irish Olympian] Paddy Barnes from closer to home.”
Next up for Duffy will be the Ulster Intermediate Championships in October and the National Championships which will begin in November.
“It’s a big step up in class, and it’s going to be a really tough task, but I’m going to keep training really hard and give it my best shot.” Even as the dust is still settling on the biggest victory of his career, Duffy is already looking forward to the next challenge.
By Mark McGowan