THE Ulster Elite Boxing Championships got off to an excellent start at Girdwood Community Hub last night with St George's Jack McGivern edging a thrilling light-welterweight quarter-final against Holy Trinity's Jon McConnell.

McGivern, who will be hoping to emulate older brother James by claiming an Ulster title and securing a place at the Commonwealth Games made the better start and while McConnell came right back into it to make it a nervy wait for the verdict, it was McGivern who had won over three of the five judges.

"Jon is a top operator," said McGivern after.

"We are probably the top two in this competition and that was a barnburner of a fight.

"I had to stay switched on. It was a tough fight and very tiring mentally, but it was great.

"You can't afford to switch off and the hard work I've put in from the Irish Elites was proven there.

"My strength and conditioning coach, Stuart (McKeating) has sent me recovery plans so I'll be ready to go again (in the semi-final)."

After a brief period of feeling out, this fight exploded into life with McGivern landing a pair of huge lefts that had his Holy Trinity opponent on the back foot and finished the round strong with back hands and a right to the jaw on the bell.

McConnell settled during the break and looked a lot more assured in the second as he began to find his range in a much closer round.

While McGivern tired in the final frame with McConnell pushing on, he was able to see it out and claim a place in tonight's semi-final against Monkstown's Robbie Gould.

The opening bout of the night was a lightweight quarter-final and Emerald's Dominic Bradley edged home on a 3-2 split against Cookstown's Teo Alin.

Bradley took a little while to warm into the opening round, but began to find a home for his right hand with a couple of flush shots.

It was a much closer second with Alin busy and landed a good flurry followed by a right with Bradley getting through with some counters.

It seemed all to play for in the final frame with Alin just appearing to be busier, but Bradley had won over enough judges to advance into a semi-final with Erne's Rhys Owens tonight.

In the 75kg semi-finals, Emerald's Jake Tucker proved too strong for Cavan's Stephen Flynn, winning a unanimous verdict, while Lex Weston took little time in joining him with a first round victory over Cairn Lodge's Jordan Hamilton.

The Ardoyne Holy Cross man forced a count midway through the opening round and a follow-up flurry saw the referee step in after the towel had come in.

"It's good, especially with this being a step-up into the Elites," said Weston afterwards.

"I got a bit excited (after the knockdown) and have to remember it's three-threes (rounds)so it was a good job it was stopped, but I'm buzzing.

"Hopefully I get a bit of a breather now but I know I'm in against Tucker now, He's a quality guy but I'm looking forward to it."

The super-heavyweight semi-finals saw Cavan's Thomas Maughan force a second round standing count on his way to a unanimous decision against Gilford's William McCartan, while Carrickmore's Aaron Travers dropped Denis Boriskins in the first round with a body shot and again to the temple in the second to defeat the Sacred Heart, Newry man on a UD.

St John Bosco's Padraig Downey received a walkover over Diarmuid Toland at 48kg, sending him through to Thursday's final against Ricky Nesbitt.

The remaining semi-finals take place back at Girdwood Community Hub this evening. Boxing begins at 7.30pm.