Maughan earns HP squad call-up

Maughan has established himself as one of the best super-heavyweights in Ireland

Cavan boxer Thomas Maughan established himself as one of the best super-heavyweights in Ireland at Elite level at the recent National Elite championships with some impressive performances.

Maughan caused the upset of the championships with a unanimous (5-0) victory over top seed Gytis Lisinkas, the Irish rep at the Olympic qualifiers.

This was followed by another 5-0 win over two-time Ulster Elite champion Paul Rodgers from Derry. Sadly there was no fairytale ending for the Cavanman in his debut season at this level as he went down on a very tight 3-2 split against former champion Martin Keenan from Rathkeale in the final.

In the quarter final against Lisinkas, Maughan used his jab to perfection to keep his opponent on the back foot, denying him leverage for his reputed heavy shots, and these tactics proved effective as he eased through to the semis.

Here he was given a real welcome to the super heavies against a much bigger, mature and physically stronger opponent in the St John’s boxer.

Maughan’s jabbing and better all-round boxing worked well at distance and he always got his first attacks off successfully. Rodgers pressed on regardless and his sheer bulk led to some scrappy, rough and very physical close-quarter encounters as he attempted, with little success, to disrupt the Cavanman’s better technique.

The final was another tough scrappy encounter. It never was going to be one for the purists as the experienced Keenan used his southpaw counter punching skills to frustrate the taller Maughan. In a tight affair, Keenan began strong to surprise Thomas and disrupt his rhythm, tactics which saw take the opener on a 4-1 scoreline.

The Cavan boxer evened it up in the second as he found his range and distance to take the session 4-1 to set up a final round that both needed for victory. This turned out to be an intensive, scrappy and untidy battle at close range with Keenan’s greater experience seeing him edge the win on a 3/2 split to take the title.

Maughan’s performances have earned him a call up to the High Performance team in Abbotstown as they prepare for the World Championships here and in the coming week with the GB team in Sheffield.

Three wins over HP boxers sees shift worker Thomas, who due to Covid restrictions was forced to train outdoors with little close contact work while HP athletes were able to prepare at the HP set-up in Dublin, break through nationally.

While Thomas was disappointed with the IABA decision not to send a team to the World Championships in Belgrade next month, his coach Brian McKeown feels this could well have come a bit early anyway and he has some big decisions to make in the coming months between work and full-time training with the HP squad. The Ulster Elites in December could be important as he also qualifies for the Commonweath Games as he was born in London.