Cork boxing clubs get ready to rumble once more

Cork boxing clubs get ready to rumble once more
Chelsea Jordan of Muskerry BC (red) and Lana O'Sullivan of Togher in action during the Cork Boxing Leagues earlier this year. Picture: Doug Minihane

SPECULATION is rife that clubs will shortly return to training and competition following recent developments in the battle against Covid-19.

However, the president of the Irish Athletic Boxing Association, Dom O’Rourke, has advised the Cork County Board that many changes will have to be made before the sport returns from lockdown.

O’Rourke was speaking following a meeting of the National Officer Board and told Michael O’Brien, president of the Cork Board, that a meeting of the IABA board of directors would take place this week.

Following this teleconference meeting, O’Rourke said that he intends to call a meeting of all county board presidents at a neutral venue to work out a format for the return of the sport to training and competitive action.

The return will comply with the HSE guidelines in relation to Covid-19 and will facilitate the many anomalies associated with amateur boxing.

In the interim, the Cork board is being inundated with inquiries regarding the resumption of boxing.

Presently, the board will appoint a Covid-19 director, and, under current recommendations for all sports, each club will have to have at least two Covid-19 officers.

One of these officials must be on the premises at all times during sparring and competition.

Equally, clubs will have to comply with hygiene and social distancing rules.

For many clubs, this could change the landscape in terms of the size and proximity of their gyms, according to the Cork board.

All clubs will be notified in the near future regarding the upcoming changes.

Officers of the IABA and the Cork County Boxing Board pictured with Deputy Lord Mayor Fergal Dennehy during a courtesy visit to City Hall in 2018. Picture: Doug Minihane
Officers of the IABA and the Cork County Boxing Board pictured with Deputy Lord Mayor Fergal Dennehy during a courtesy visit to City Hall in 2018. Picture: Doug Minihane

Meanwhile, the Cork Ex Boxers Association (CEBA) are due to meet in the coming week.

As all of CEBA’s work is outside the ring, the main objective of the organisation is to compliment and promote the sport.

The president of CEBA, Tim O’Sullivan, has announced that the winner of this year’s Paddy Martin “Champ of Champions Cup” is double Elite titlist and potential Olympian Christina Desmond.

The presentation will take place on a date and a venue to be announced. The cup will be presented by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, son of Paddy Martin.

Since its introduction eight years ago, Desmond has now won the trophy twice.

The Fr Horgan’s BC/Garda BC southpaw last claimed the accolade in 2014 in the Cork board’s centenary year following her qualification for the Youth Olympics in China.

The prestigious trophy perpetuates the memory of the late Paddy Martin. The “Champ”, as he was affectionately known, was a larger- than-life character.

Martin boxed out of the Glen BC. Along with Tim O’Sullivan, he was a founding member of the CEBA and for many years he worked as treasurer with the Cork Board.

In 2016, a plaque was erected in Bishop Lucey Park in his memory. Elsewhere, following the recent announcement that Olympic champion Michael Carruth will have a plaque erected in Bishop Lucey Park later this year, a fellow Dublin Olympian was also acknowledged in Cork in 1957.

Seldom if ever has a sportsman received the reception that Fred Tiedt received in City Hall over 60 years ago. On that night, Tiedt, who was the main attraction at the Corinthians BC annual tournament, was cheered to the rafters by the large attendance.

The Dubliner, whose son Emile is a pro-boxing ref, was given the red carpet treatment and acclaimed as Ireland’s leading boxer.

The lord mayor at the time was Sean Casey, and he welcomed Tiedt to City Hall on behalf of the people of Cork, and he reminded the attendance of the Irishman’s performance at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne where Tiedt reached the 67kg final.

Tiedt, who coached at the Trinity College BC after he hung up his gloves, should have been parading a gold medal at City Hall as he was beaten controversially by Romania’s Nicolae Linca in the welter decider at Melbourne 1956.

Tiedt dominated the gold medal fight but dropped a 3-2 split decision to the Romanian.

The Tiedt versus Linca final was explicitly mentioned in an official International Olympic Committee dispatch.

It read: “Probably the most unlucky boxer was Tiedt (Ireland) who lost a close final to Linca (Romania) after he had come through three very hard fights in his division against Aaleskra (Poland), Lane (USA) and Hogarth (Australia).”

Meanwhile, famed Sunnyside BC coach Albie Murphy was matched against Tiedt at City Hall in 1957, and both men produced a fiery contest.

Tiedt carried the fight to Murphy in each round with the Corkman responding in kind. Most acknowledged that while Tiedt had superb ring craft that Murphy showed a lot of skill and was by no means overawed by the World number two.

However, the Olympic finalist got the decision after five famous rounds of boxing at the ancestral home of the sport on Leeside.

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