Under the wings of Ireland’s first and only male Olympic boxing gold medalist, Sean O'Bradaigh begins his two-pronged strategy to qualify for the 2024 Paris Games with a bid to make the Irish team next week. The New York University undergraduate, who’s 21, has also earned a wild card shot for the U.S. Olympic team at the final trials in Lafayette, Louisiana, in December.
O'Bradaigh, the Ring Masters/Golden Gloves middleweight novice champion, flew to his father’s hometown two weeks ago to train at Dublin’s Drimnagh BC. The Irish Amateur Boxing Association’s Club of the Year in 2019 bills itself as the home of provincial, national, European and Olympic champions.
O'Bradaigh’s trainer there is Michael Carruth, the former Irish army officer and first boxer from the Emerald Isle to win an Olympic gold medal when the southpaw triumphed in the welterweight final in Barcelona in 1992.
With Carruth in his corner, O'Bradaigh, campaigning for an Olympic berth in the elite light heavyweight division, but unknown in his paternal homeland, is unseeded and takes on the top seed on Nov. 10 at Dublin’s National Stadium. That will be 2022 European Championship gold medalist Gabriel Dossen.
Born in the Ivory Coast, but fighting out of Galway, Dossen is a vastly experienced, albeit modest punching 23-year-old southpaw with a 70-21 record and just three victories by knockout.
With only four fighters in the light heavyweight division – Waterford’s highly touted Kelyn Cassidy [38-17, 2 KOs] being the other ranked in the top 25 in the world -- O'Bradaigh, whose 18-6 himself, is aware of the challenge ahead of him.
“So, basically a lot of other weight classes have a lot more competitors, but my weight class doesn't because a lot of people don't think that they can match up, because there's two really good guys in my weight class -- Gabriel Dossen and Kelyn Cassidy,” O'Bradaigh observed. “So, only four of us are entered but two people in the bracket are like top 25 in the world so it's a pretty competitive division.”
Should he get past Dossen, O'Bradaigh could likely face Cassidy for an Irish berth to the Paris Olympics.
Then there’s the U.S. Boxing Olympic Wild Card trials scheduled for December at the 13,500-capacity Cajundome University of Louisiana at Lafayette campus. That will be a double elimination competition featuring all the top 16 amateurs in each division in the U.S.
According to U.S. Boxing, O’Bradaigh’s bid was accepted on account of him being “a Medalist at a 2024 Olympic Trials for Boxing Qualifier in an Olympic weight category.”