Road to the Olympics: Brendan Irvine


In our ongoing ‘Road to the Olympics’ series, BOXRAW speak with some of the most exciting Olympic stars about their own paths to the Games. Next up, Ireland team captain Brendan Irvine discusses his past Rio experience and hopes for Tokyo.

Fighter Fact File

Full name: Brendan Irvine 

DOB: 17/05/1996

Hometown: West Belfast

Walk out song: Danza Kuduro

Favourite fighter: Vasyl Lomachenko

Favourite/best fight: Ray Robinson vs. Jake LaMotta

Fantasy opponent: Manny Pacquiao

Cheat meal: Pizza or Mexican 

Hobby outside of boxing: Fishing 

Dream place to fight: MSG or MGM

Favourite punch: Back hand lead hook

Best thing about training: Knowing that you gave it 100% and you’re busted

Brendan Irvine's Road to the Olympics has seen him become Irish captain (Image: INPHO).

First of all, can you explain how you first got into boxing?

My neighbour 'Kerzo' first got me into boxing. He was a keep-fitter at a local gym and took me around to try it out.

Are there any particular fighters that have inspired you in your own career so far?

Yes, there are so many fighters from Ireland who have inspired me, such as Carl Frampton, Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan.

How did it feel to finally know you were going to be a two-time Olympian?

It was crazy to be honest. I always dreamed of getting to the Olympics as a kid and now going for my second time is something really special.

How beneficial is your Olympics experience going into another Games?

Yes, it's very important. At the first Games I was a bit caught up in the whole Olympic circus. But now I'm more experienced and know exactly what to expect.

Brendan Irvine brings a wealth of experience to Tokyo (Image: RTE).

How do you manage to deal with the pressure and expectations of being a leading medal contender this summer?

I try not to look ahead too much and take it day by day and step by step. But knowing I have the support back home is a great feeling and that really drives me on.

How much of an impact did the postponement of the Olympics, the global pandemic and overall lockdowns have on your preparations?

It had a big impact for everyone that aims for the Olympics as absolutely nobody was certain that they would go ahead. For me it was all about keeping a routine and continuing to work and aiming as if they were always going ahead.

How would you describe your style for those who haven’t seen you fight?

I would describe myself as a boxer who moves but also likes to have a fight in the centre of the ring at times too.

Are you planning to turn professional after the Olympics or carry on for further amateur success?

I don't know what my plans for after the Olympics are just yet. I'm just taking it in my stride and enjoying the whole experience first of all.

Brendan Irvine joins teammate Kellie Harrington as the Ireland flag bearers (Image: RTE).

What are your thoughts on the Olympics having no crowds allowed and how much of an effect will this have?

No, it doesn't have too much of an effect on you when you're in the ring. It's you and your opponent and that's all that matters.

Do you feel that amateur boxing has improved its scoring, judges and officials at international tournaments?

I think from the last games there has been an improvement as people were a lot more aware of the past issues.

Finally, what are your short and long term goals in boxing at this stage of your career?

My ultimate goal is to win an Olympic medal and then make my mind up about what to do next. I don't like to look too far ahead. I like to focus on the now.


Header image: IABA