Boxing cousins set for return to the ring

TWO of Ballymena’s most successful amateur boxers of recent times will make a remarkable return to the ring this weekend.

Cousins Dermot (left) and TJ Hamill will make their return to the boxing ring in Saturday night's All Saints Boxing Club show, which also features Ricky Moore (centre).

Thomas and Dermot Hamill, who between them have seven Ulster and one Irish senior title under their belts, are preparing to don the gloves again as All Saints Boxing Club hosts a fight night in the Adair Arms this Saturday (7.30pm).

The pair haven’t boxed competitively for six years and in recent times have taken up coaching positions within the Cushendall Road club, passing on their knowledge to a new generation of All Saints boxers.

Now, however, they are ready to step between the ropes for Saturday night’s match-up against a Scottish Select which in turn is a warm-up for All Saints’ eagerly-awaited trip to America next month.

“The team we are taking to America is quite young and our American hosts were looking for some experienced opponents so I put the idea to Thomas and Dermot,” All Saints coach Gerry Hamill told Times Sport.

“They were a bit surprised at the start but they were very keen to give it a go and they have been training hard along with the rest of the boys who are going.

“We put on this show in order to give all the boxers some action ahead of the USA trip and the interest has been incredible.”

Only a limited number of tickets are still available for the function, with the first of 14 scheduled bouts taking place at 7.30pm sharp.

Fight fans are asked to note that they will NOT be able to pay at the door on the night and anyone looking for tickets should contact Gerry as soon as possible on 07718 746890.

Some of All Saints’ other USA-bound boxers will also be in action on Saturday night, including Ulster senior champion Steven Donnelly and Ulster intermediate champion Joel Scullion and Hamill hopes they will be given a good workout against the Scots, who will be comprised of boxers from Aberdeen and Dundee, along with a couple of guest boxers from the Republic of Ireland.

“We want this squad to be as fit as they possibly can before they head to America because they are putting together a team from a wide geographical area and will be top quality.

“Our boys certainly haven’t been treating the trip as a holiday - they have been training hard and there has been some terrific fully-fledged sparring.”

Saturday night’s bill also includes All Saints boxers Aidan Kelly, Reece McDonnell, Dean Hughes, Ricky Moore, Niall McKernan, Kevin Gribben, Vinny Esler and Quinton McDonagh.

All Saints officials have hailed their recent night at the races/auction fund-raiser a huge success, with a pair of Joe Frazier-autographed gloves selling for £500.