Olympic boost for Monkstown

Monkstown Amateur Boxing Club will be used as a training venue for the Cuban Olympic boxing team in July, Times Sport can reveal.

With Cuban fighters dominating the medals at recent Olympics, it’s a massive coup for the local club to be hosting the team next month.

In the last three Olympics the Caribbean state has won a staggering 80 medals in the sport. In the 2008 games in Beijing they took home two gold, 11 silver and 11 bronze. Four years earlier, in Athens, they won nine gold medals, seven silver and 11 bronze. At the Sydney games in 2000, they scooped 11 gold, 11 silver and seven bronze medals.

They will bring a 10-strong team to Monkstown - a club which has produced Commonwealth medallists in Neil Sinclair who won gold in 1995 and Steven Ward who won silver in Delhi in 2010.

Coach Paul Johnston said everyone connected with the club is looking forward to the visit.

“The members of the club are very excited about the whole thing. To see them training and, from a coaching perspective, to see the coaches in action, will be really positive from a local side of things,” he said.

“Potentially, maybe the likes of Steven Ward and some of our other senior boxers will have the opportunity to spar with the team so that’s a real bonus for them.”

He added: “They are the strongest boxing nation in the world at the Olympics in terms of their dominance. They have been right at the top for the last five or six Olympic Games ... so they are certainly a team we can learn from.

“Without doubt the visit will inspire some of the young members at the club. If you can’t get motivated by watching the Cubans box then there is something wrong.”