Dungloe southpaw Mark McCole has vowed to bounce back at Elite level next year after bowing out in a welterweight quarter-final on Saturday night.
The 20-year-old Dungloe puncher lost out to former two-time Irish light-welterweight champion Dean Walsh.
McCole was debuting in the Elite Championships last weekend and overcame Arklow’s Fergal Redmond on Friday night before falling to Walsh the following night, Walsh claiming 30-27 verdicts on all five judges’ cards.
“It was a close enough fight. I’m happy with my performance,” McCole said.
“I haven’t been training very well; I had a good Christmas.
“Friday’s fight helped me get the ring-rust away. I hadn’t fought since September and it was hard to keep training when you had nothing really planned.
“I was up against a very good opponent. He’s a two-time champion here so it’s good experience to get in with a man like that.
“He brought the speed and power up – I felt some big shots. Dean is a very good boxer.”
McCole – trained by his father, Jim – weighed in at 67kgs so has room to move up a couple of kgs and still comfortably take to the canvas at welterweight.
He has two Irish titles in the bag already and now he will get to work with next year’s Elites in mind.
He said: “I would take a break but I had that over Christmas. I’ll keep ticking over and hopefully a couple of tournament fights might pop up.
“Maybe I might get on a team going away somewhere. It’s about staying focussed now and keeping ready to get back to the Elites.
“Experience is what I’m taking away. The calibre of opponent is a different level at Elite level.”