Ireland has five boxers through to the quarter-finals of the 17th AIBA World Elite Boxing Championships in Almaty following excellent performances by – and comprehensive wins today- from Moate’s Joe Ward and Paddy Barnes of Belfast’s Holy Family BC.
First of the Irish in action this morning at the Baluan Sholak Palace of Sports and Culture in the former capital was another Belfast boxer, Sean McComb who came agonisingly close to gaining a surprise win against heavy favourite, Elvin Isayev of Azerbaijan before going under 29-28, 28-29, 27-30.
The Sri Lankan judge had McComb ahead in all three rounds but his Argentinian and Brazilian colleagues had Isayev in the ascendancy by one and three points respectively.
This was McComb’s first major international for Ireland in the 60kg Lightweight division and he can feel very proud of his achievements in Almaty – and most certainly if he keeps up this form the Holy Trinity club man is one for the future.
Shortly after leaving the ringside, McComb told his Twitter followers : “ Not long out of the ring there boxed well very hard fight could have went either way but I’ll take the positives from it and drive on!
Sad of course, but I enjoyed the experience a lot”.
Moate’s Joe Ward, though short of ring action following his recent leg and hand injuries was in fine form against Hungary’s Norbert Harcsa when the two met at light heavyweight with the 19 years old from Moate emerging the victor on all three judges’ scorecards with a
30-27,30-27, 30-26 unanimous decision . Next up for sixth seeded Ward is leading Russian – and number three seed – Nikita Ivanov with the winner guaranteed a minimum bronze medal and a place in the semi-final. Ward v Ivanov is a repeat of the 2011 European final – which Ward won in Turkey
Paddy Barnes made short work of his Kenyan opponent, Simon Nzioki with Barnes putting the Kenyan on the canvas,with a sweet left hook, within 86 seconds of the opening bell at which point the referee called proceedings to a halt. Great win for Barnes more especially as Nzioki himself – the 2013 Kenyan National League gold medallist – had himself gained a stunning 1m 58 seconds tko win over England’s Charlie Edwards in the preliminary round in Almaty.
So five Irish boxers in Wednesday’s quarter finals, all within one win of an elusive World medal. McCarthy, Conlan and Quigley go in the morning session with Barnes and Ward in action in the afternoon (Irish time).
Here Joe Ward talks with Kenny Egan after the bout : http://vimeo.com/77488812
And Billy Walsh discusses the day’s events in Almaty: https://soundcloud.com/