NARRAGHMORE man Ross Hickey took his second consecutive National Elite title at light welterweight last Friday when he put in a commanding performance to beat Bray’s Stephen Coughlan in the final.
Hickey was one of seven Kildare based boxers taking part in the finals but was the only one to taste glory and now has one last chance to qualify for the Olympic Games in London this summer.
The Grangecon club man retained his title on a 21-5 verdict and he will now go forward to the final Olympic qualifier in Trabzon in Turkey from April 13 to 22.
The tournament represents Hickey’s last chance to earn a place at the London Games but he will be up against it as the host nation has no boxers qualified for London yet.
Speaking after last Friday’s final win, Hickey said he felt good before the final, was in a good place and was ready to do the business, unlike the previous week when the Narraghmore man struggled passed Philip Sutcliffe.
“I felt good and not like last week (for the semi final). I knew what I had to do, I had a game plan and it worked well. I knew I could box better than I did in the semi. I was very sloppy, the shots weren’t landing and it just wasn’t working. Tonight I just felt brilliant going in there and I knew I had to be on my game,” remarked the amiable Curragh based army man.
Last Friday was different for Hickey though; he was in the zone and it certainly showed in the ring against Coughlan. After a tense first round Hickey only led 4-3 but in the second he was dominant and won it 7-0, while he was in similar form for the final round, a round he won 10-2.
“I just got my head right for the final. I was all over the shop beforehand and maybe I was thinking ahead about qualifiers, whereas I should have been focusing on one fight at a time. Thankfully I got my act together and I performed well tonight. I’m boxing well and hopefully I’ll only get better.
I feel better now. Maybe it took me a few years to grow up and grow in to my body,” admitted Hickey.
Hickey will have it all to do in Turkey in April if he is to make it across the water for the Games of the XXX Olympiad, indeed he will have to go all the way and win the final in Turkey, but he is focused at least.
“I’ll keep going, keep training away and do the best I can and hopefully I’ll make it. I’ll be focusing on Turkey in April, I’ll keep the head down and go to the training camp on The Curragh with the Irish team and take it from there,” said the national champion.