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Northern Ireland box clever in Cuba

22 July 2002

Northern Ireland’s boxing team have arrived in Manchester after a month’s training with some of the world’s best amateurs in Cuba.

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The 10-man boxing team spent 22 July training at the Forum Centre, Wythenshawe, for the preliminary bouts which start on Friday, 26 July, after returning from Cuba earlier this month.

Coach Paul McMahon insists his team are in peak condition thanks to a series of sparring sessions with Cuba’s best amateurs who dominated the World Championships last year.

However, he admits there is a lot of expectation on Northern Ireland to win medals, especially flyweight Liam Cunningham and bantamweight Martin Lindsay.

He said: “Cuba has the best amateur boxers in the world and we were sparring with the Cuban team every day."

“Everybody is in good shape. We are here with ten boxers and we would like to think everybody has a chance to win a medal.”

“The lads are under big pressure and have high expectations of themselves. They have been outstanding in their training and we have no discipline problems."

“We have a good reputation for boxing and there’s pressure on us to live up to it. Anybody from Northern Ireland who has been lucky enough to win medals at the Commonwealth Games has gone on to be successful at the Olympics.”

The semi-finals and the final of the boxing will be held at the MEN Arena on 1 and 3 August respectively.

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