The Erne Boxing Club’s great start to the season continued last weekend with success both domestically and internationally.

The highlight of the week was a gold medal won by Rhys Owens at the prestigious King of the Ring tournament in Boras, Sweden.

The Swedish tournament is one of Europe’s largest boxing tournaments and usually attracts more than 500 competitors.

On this occasion there were 380 boxers competing from 12 countries in addition to the Scandinavian countries, with boxers present from England, France, Portugal, Scotland and Hong Kong.

Rhys Owens, one of two competitors from the Erne Boxing Club, was first in action in a quarter-final contest in the 60kg Elite class against Sweden’s Ali Aga Zamani (Orebro BK).

His Swedish opponent was very strong and came forward swinging powerful shots, but Owens boxed very smartly keeping the contest at distance using the whole ring.

Owens picked his shots well and negated his opponent’s attacks with good defensive skills to win all three rounds and collect a unanimous decision 5-0.

Anthony Malanaphy was also pitted against a Swedish opponent in the quarter finals of his 64kg Elite class contest.

Picked his punches well

Malanaphy was also up against a very strong aggressive opponent in Milad Mazdak (Ringen BK), and he picked his punches well.

Despite having to cope with the high workrate of his determined opponent, Malanaphy landed with the cleaner and more eye-catching shots in all three rounds.

But the judges favoured aggression and returned a decision in favour of the local boxer, leaving Malanaphy to bow out after a credible display.

Rhys Owens was back in action in the semi-final contest on Saturday and he was once again up against a Swedish opponent.

Abbas Mohevi (IF Linnea) was short and stocky, and came forward throwing powerful shots as he tried to work Owen’s body.

However, Owens kept the fight at long-range whenever possible, and he picked his shots with precision.

There were times when he had to stand his ground and trade with his strong opponent, and this made the contest close.

But Owens deservedly got the nod via a 3-2 split decision.

On Sunday, Rhys Owens competed in the final against an English opponent, Faraz Abid (Hoddesdon Boxing Academy).

It was a very tactical contest between two very stylish boxers, and competent counter-punchers.

However, Owens bravely opted to take the fight to his opponent and box on the front foot. He was busy behind the jab and worked the body well.

All three rounds were extremely close but the brave tactics paid off as Owens edged the contest again by a 3-2 split decision.

Erne Boxing Club Head Coach Sean Crowley said: “We entered this tournament for the experience, and although we were confident that we would do well, our expectation was just to collect a win or possibly two, and anything above that was going to be a bonus.

“Anthony Malanaphy was very unfortunate. Many observers at ringside thought he did enough and it was a great shame that he didn’t progress to the final.

“But it was only his third contest after six years out, and he’s still making great progress.


“Rhys Owens was outstanding and really came of age in this tournament. He boxed superbly in all three contests and has really made the perfect transition to Elite level.

“His impressive performances means that the club will now enter him into the Ulster Elite championships in December.

“On current form, there’s no reason for Rhys not to dream big and aim high. Although he still lacks experience at Elite level, he has the ability to give the best a run for the money and cause a surprise or two.”

In addition to their great success on the international scene there was there was also success for the Erne Boxing Club domestically.

Ciaran Cassidy came through two contests in Shantallow, Co. Derry to progress to the final of the Ulster 9 Counties Schoolboys championships.

He progressed past his Derry opponent, Ruben Shipley (Rochesters BC) in the quarter final of the Boy 3 (Under-14s) 44.5kg class via a walk over when his opponent withdrew just moments before the first bell.

In Sunday’s semi-final, he was then pitted in a local derby against school friend and sparring partner Bernard McElholm (Trillick Star BC).

Both had boxed each other twice before, with a win apiece, so this was their trilogy contest.

McElholm started well to edge the opener but Cassidy came on strong to dominate the last two sessions and collect a unanimous points win 5-0.

Also celebrating Ulster 9 Counties success is Katie Rasdale, who added the Girl 1 (Under-12’) 68kgs title to the Ulster crown she won the previous week.

Erne Boxing Club advise that they are just waiting on dates for Ciaran Cassidy’s final and when Katie Rasdale will compete in the National Schoolgirl Championship finals in Dublin.

They are also busy preparing boxers for the Ulster Elite championships in December.

Despite all their recent challenges and the stop/start to the season, with three International Gold medals and an Ulster Senior title, to date, and now Junior boxers collecting honours, they are making great strides and are all set for more success before the end of the year, and things are looking good for 2022.