Matthew McCole is eyeing up an Irish U22 title on Friday night – and, with it, a place at the European U22 Championships.
The Dungloe ABC light-welter faces up to Dublin Docklands’ Pierce O’Leary in the 64kgs final at the National U22 finals at the National Stadium.
Southpaw McCole (pictured above with Steve Bunce) lost out in his last two final visits to the South Circular Road, both times to Kenneth Doyle (Monkstown), first in the Irish senior final in December 2017 and then in the last version of the U22s in early-2018.
McCole overcame Padraig Convery (Holy Family, Drogheda) on a unanimous decision in a one-sided quarter-final before another UD, against Terry McEntee of Old School in Monaghan, in the semi-final catapulted him back to the final.
The Letterkenny Institute of Technology student could be tested by O’Leary, who has seen off Paulstown’s Shane Flavin and Swords’ Michael Avetisian on his way to the final.
Last summer, McCole won gold at the Haringey Box Cup in London, defeating Alston Ryan form Repton in the final.
In September, he competed in the World University Championships in Elista, Russia, losing out to Russian Alisa Sharifov in a quarter-final.
McCole will be looking to emulate brother Mark and sister Niamh in getting his paws on a national title on Friday night, while he is also expected to enter the forthcoming National Elite Championships.
The IABA is using the National U/22s as part of the selection process for the European U/22 Men’s and Women’s Championships in Vladikavka, Russia (March 8/18).