Left to right: Joe Lavelle (Ballina coach), Frankie Cleary and Sean Conroy

Frankie's special award is proudly held by Joe Lavelle

The party attended the 5th international elite men and women boxing tournament which began on 28th November 2017 and continued until December 4th.

Silver and bronze for Ballina in Poland
The Ballina Boxing Club was represented by Elite boxers Frankie Cleary and Sean Conroy at the 5th International Elite Men and Women Leszek Drogosz Memorial Boxing Tournament 2017 staged over six days in the snow-bound city of Kielce in Poland from November 28th to December 4th. There were boxers from twelve different countries represented at this multi-nation tournament.
Ballina boxer Cleary competed in 60 kg. class and was awarded the silver medal after losing out by a split decision against the Dutch Olympian and World Bronze medalist, Enrico La Cruz of Holland who only two weeks previously gained a victory over the Cuban Olympic gold medalist. Cleary was awarded a special trophy after his bout was judged the best contest of the tournament.
In the 81 kg. class Sean Conroy, was awarded a bronze medal after he lost in the semi-final to the Dutch Champion in a thrilling fight that had the crowd standing and cheering throughout.
The invitation to participate in the tournament came after the Ballina Boxing Club that operates out of the Dick Hearns Centre hosted a 16-day training camp in December 2015 for the Polish National side in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio.
Coach Joe Lavelle travelled with the Ballina Boxers and expressed the opinion that the experience gained by the Mayo boxers would stand to them in the Irish Elite National Championships in February next.
The Ballina Boxing Club has already receive an invitation to participate in the tournament in 2018.


6th December - 22nd December 2015

From left: Vincent Hearns, Ballina BC PRO; Jerzy Baraniecki, Polish Coach; Deputy Michelle Mulherrin TD; Sergiy Korchynsky, Polish Head Coach and native of Ukraine; Deputy Darragh Calleary TD; Joe Lavelle, Ballina BC Treasurer/CPO and Vincent McMahon, Secretary Ballina Boxing Club.

Photo: Jurij Batiuk, taken December 11
The Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) are intent on driving Irish boxing to new levels by inviting the best from overseas to training camps in Ireland. There is a belief that everything happens at IABA HQ in Dublin, but this training camp received full support from IABA HQ for a Mayo venue, and Ballina Boxing Club is only too glad to facilitate this 16-day event.

Head coach with the Polish contingent is Sergiy Korchynsky from Ukraine, regarded by many as one of the top three boxing coaches in the world. He was awarded Best WSB Coach of the Year in 2013.

There is a daily training schedule which is followed diligently and some of Ireland's elite boxers will be invited to attend during the coming days.

Group doing a warm-up in the Dick Hearns Training and Fitness Centre as
Eric and Dawid are sparring, watched by officers and guests

As the 16-day training camp draws to a close on December 22nd 2015 and boxers are tiring, the big question on everyone's mind -- local, national and Polish -- is: How soon can we do this again? "Where there's a will there's a way!" is the measured, reassuring reply from Joe Lavelle, Treasurer and Child Protection Officer with Ballina Boxing Club. Brian Rocky O'Donnell stated that his late father would be proud of the club's involvement with this type of event, as he himself is, and he ensured that younger club members were regularly invited to watch and participate in suitable camp proceedings. The club owes special thanks to Jurij and Eryk Batiuk who both speak Russian and Polish, as well as English, and who were always on hand throughout the duration of the camp to act as interpreters when required to do so, and for taking the Polish officials on scenic tours. This club also wishes to thank all the Irish boxers, coaches and mentors who travelled to Ballina for this unique event. English-speaking Slawomir Danaj, physio with the Polish contingent, stated that the team's time in Ireland was very well spent and that it showed the boxers that there was more training and coaching to be done in preparation for Rio. He praised the hotel and the chefs who prepared the food and stated that he would highly recommend Ballina Boxing Club's ability to host future camps. A remark passed by a number of the visitors to the camp was most gratifying: "From what I see on the displays here, it is plain that this club is all about the current and former boxers. At the entrance you have posted your recent young national champions, and you have life-size photos of three very fine role models on the walls inside: that of the great multi-disciplined sports champion Dick Hearns, champion boxer, coach, referee Brian O'Donnell and of life-long boxing supporter Seán Padden. Best of luck to your club for the future."


Mr. Peter Mullen, St. Anne's Boxing Club, Westport, expressed his gratitude to Ballina Boxing Club on behalf of his boxer, Ray Moylette, who had trained/sparred with the Polish boxers during the camp, and which took Ray to within a contest of a place in Rio at Olympics 2016. Ray had lost the final in Dublin on a split decision on December 11th 2015, and with it an opportunity to compete in Rio, but his showing in Ballina earned him a right to go another route. Ray was honoured by Ballina Boxing Club at a function in The Merry Monk in July 2016 at which he spoke highly of his coaches and acknowledged the support of the Ballina club which had given him that extra opportunity to get to Rio. Joe Lavelle spoke of Ray as being a very fine athlete, a Mayo man, who went within one punch of a place in Rio 2016 which had come through dedication to his sport and the support of those around him.

The future of Ballina Boxing Club looks very promising and with ladies' boxing becoming popular too of late, club membership is set to increase. Ballina's boxers deserve the best. In fact, Irish boxers deserve far more credit than they're given and it is a matter of public record that Irish boxers have taken more Olympic medals than all other sports combined in the country: boxers have won 16 of the 31 Olympic medals awarded to Irish athletes at the summer Olympics to date.