Galway’s Kieran Molloy showed his class under pressure to join Mayo’s Sean Conroy in Thursday’s quarter-finals at the AIBA World Junior Championships in the Ukraine.
Molloy hammered out a unanimous decision (30-27,30-27,30-27) over Korea’s Gangtai Kim in an all-southpaw lightweight duel yesterday.
The Oughterard BC ace’s precision shots and composure under pressure was the deciding factor in this contest and he’ll now meet Australia’s Joshua McKay for at least a bronze medal.
“It was a superb performance from Kieran, said Billy McClean, who is working Ireland’s corner with Tom Hayes at the 57-nation Championships.
“The Korean lad never let him alone for the three rounds, constantly coming forward, but Kieran kept his composure and kept doing the right thing and the unanimous decision from the judges speaks for itself.
Belfast’s Lewis Crocker and Kilkenny’s Kevin Kehoe bowed out of the tournament at the last-16 stage in the Ukraine capital.
Crocker was beaten on a unanimous decision by Azerbaijan’s 2011 European Schoolboy champion Roushan Musayev.
The Azeri fighter edged Crocker by a single point en route to gold at the 2011 European Schoolboys in Grozny, Russia and shaded (29-28,29-28,29-28) in another close bout on Wednesday.
“We’re disappointed with that decision, admitted McClean. “We thought that Lewis did enough to win it. Both are strong boxers and there was nothing in it at the end.”
Kevin Kehoe and Kadyrbek Sadykber of Kazakhstan didn’t have to go looking for each other – and that’s putting it mildly.
Both southpaws went at each other hammer and thongs for the entire three rounds of a cracking light-middleweight clash. Kehoe, firing home a barrage of big rights, had a particularly good second, but the Kazakh got the nod on a unanimous decision.
“Kevin acquitted himself very well against a very strong and aggressive boxer. It was a close contest and Kevin can only learn from the experience of competing at this level. He can be very proud of his performance today,” added McClean.
“And the winner is Willie Donoghue, Israel”, the MC mistakenly announced after Donoghue saw off the challenge of Uzbekistan’s Oybek Juraev in the second bout of this evening’s session.
Donoghue earned a split decision over Juraev from a lively light-flyweight encounter. The Irish champion, throwing a high volume of punches throughout this contest, always looked the more likely winner.
The Uzbek also had his moments, but Donoghue, countering excellently in each round, was a deserving winner. Georgii Ivanov, who had to work extremely hard to subdue Wei-Sheng Lin of Chines Taipei in the opening bout of the session, awaits in the quarter-finals.
Elsewhere in the evening session , Derry’s Ryan Green went out on a unanimous decision to Gamik Papikyan in the flyweight class.
The Armenian southpaw had the better of the exchanges in the opening minute, his greater industry and punching ability off both hands dictating the pace, but Green lashed home some solid combinations near the end of the frame.
It was more of the same in round two, Papikyan, surely a medal contender on the basis of this performance, attacking and countering, Green countering and attacking with some neat shots. The Oakleaf BC champion never stopped trying, according to Billy McClean.
He said: “Ryan gave it absolutely everything and we can’t ask for anything more. He was in against a very strong opponent and he gave it his all. Willie (Donoghue) was outstanding, absolutely outstanding.
“He was up against an opponent who was a head taller, an opponent who had very good counter-punching technique and he came away with a fantastic win.”
Irish captain John Joyce completed a hat-trick for Ireland – and a double for the St Michael’s Athy BC club – with a unanimous decision over Sweden’s Adam Chartoi.
Boxing well within himself and looking poised and composed and working slickly from body to head, the former European Schoolboy champion, who was once again boxing in the final bout of the session, was awarded a 30-27,30-27.29-28 decision from the three judges.
Conroy, Joyce, Donoghue and Molloy will all box for at least bronze today. Fridayis a well-deserved rest day for the boxers.