Ireland gained yet another Gold medal in the European boxing championships thus reinforcing our position as European no 2 boxing nation behind the Russians.
John Joyce,who boxes out of the St Michael’s Athy club, was crowned European Junior light-welterweight champion in Anapa, Russia following a commanding victory over the host nation’s Shakhin Aslanov on Saturday morning.
Joyce, a gold medal winner at the 2011 European Schoolboy Championships in Grozny, Russia, earned a split decision after three, two minute rounds to secure gold and his fourth successive win of the week long tournament.
The final scores read 30-27,30-27 for, and, surprisingly, 29-28 against, the new European champion.
Aslanov’s inability, or unwillingness, except sporadically, to step inside Joyce’s longer reach and take the fight to the Irish teenager more or less ensured that the 63kg top prize would not be remaining in Russia.
Joyce set out his stall early in the first. Showing superior footwork and counter-punching ability, the Irish champion repeatedly tagged Aslanov with rights and backhands.
The second was more or less the same. Aslanov did pick up the pace a little and tried the force the issue on the inside, but Joyce kept clipping home replies.
Joyce wisely stuck to his boxing and avoided any confrontations in the third to see out a comfortable win.
It was a classy victory, and the St Michael’s Athy, who raised his hands in triumph at the final bell, didn’t need the wait for the result to be announced for official confirmation that he had claimed his second major European gold medal in Russia in as many years.
“It was a fantastic performance from John and we’re absolutely delighted to win the gold medal. All our lads gave it absolutely everything today and they can be very proud of their performances as can our entire squad this week,” said Irish team manager Stephen Connolly.
Earlier , Galway’s Frankie Cleary was adjudged to have lost the 50kg final to Bulgaria’s Daniel Asenov – after a long delay to reach a decision.
The officials at ringside took almost ten minutes to announce a verdict after the computer went down in the third and final round.
Consequently, the five judges were called back to score the fight on paper and they handed Asenov a 3-2 majority decision.
Asenov probably shaded the first frame, the Bulgarian walking through some solid rights to circumvent Cleary’s height and reach advantage and deliver on the inside. He also finished the round strongly.
Cleary, however, began the second on the front foot and ended the frame on the front foot. Scoring almost exclusively with his right – he also found the target with a great left mid way through the frame – the Galway teenager clearly won the stanza.
The third was more even. Asenov continued to drop home lefts, while Cleary continued to find the target with combinations. The Olympic BC ace went back to his corner at the end of the fight for a high five with Irish coaches Billy McClean and Jim O’Neill.
But, after the delay, Asenov got the decision.
Martin Stokes was involved in a slug-fest with England’s Ryan Garner, the Southampton ABC orthodox earning a unanimous decision to take home the bantamweight gold.
The English fighter’s greater aggression caught the eyes of the judges on the day, although Stokes showcased some fantastic counter-punching skills, particularly in the second frame.
Plenty of leather was exchanged in the third round also, Garner pouring forward at every opportunity, Stokes, hands down by his sides, reacting well on the counter. It was a fine display from the Mulhuddart BC (Dublin) stand out, who, like Cleary and Joyce, had four bouts in Anapa this week.
Ireland finished in second spot behind Russia in the medals and rankings tables at the 2013 European Junior Championships– both countries also commanded the top two positions at the European Elite Championships in June, with again Russia in No. 1 spot.
European Junior Championships Anapa, Russia
November 13th Q/Finals
46kg Liam Callaghan (Ireland) lost to Giorgio Chargazia (Georgia) 0-3
50kg Frankie Cleary (Ireland) beat Gagik Pozoyan (Georgia) 3-0
63kg John Joyce (Ireland) beat Yurik Darabyan (Armenia) 3-0
November 14th Q/Finals
52kg Oliver McCarthy (Ireland) lost to Ucha Maisurdaze (Georgia) 1-2
54kg Martin Stokes (Ireland) beat Eusebiu Jitaru (Romania) 2-1
70kg Ger French (Ireland) lost to Alexsander Kalinov (Bulgaria) 0-3
November 15th S/Finals
50kg Frankie Cleary (Ireland) beat Umid Rustamov (Azerbaijan) 3-0
54kg Martin Stokes (Ireland) beat Anatoly Zhirnov (Russia) 3-0
63kg John Joyce (Ireland) beat Mark Kontrecz (Hungary) 3-0
November 16th (Finals)
50kg Frankie Cleary (Ireland) lost to Daniel Asenov (Bulgaria) 1-2
52kg Martin Stokes (Ireland) lost to Ryan Garner (England) 0-3
63kg John Joyce (Ireland) beat Shakhin Aslanov (Russia) 2-1
46kg Liam Callaghan (Cardonagh)
48kg Conor Quinn (Clonard)
50kg Frankie Cleary (Olympic) (Silver)
52kg Oliver McCarthy (Brian Dillons)
54kg Martin Stokes (Mulhuddart) (Silver)
57kg Matthew Davis (Ardagh)
60kg Aidan Walsh (Holy Family)
63kg John Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) (Gold)
66kg Brett McGinty (Oakleaf)
70kg Ger French (Clonard)
75kg Sean Conroy (Ballyhaunis)
Team Manager :Stephen Connolly
Coaches : Billy McClean & Jim O’Neill