Finn Valley’s Jason Quigley guaranteed Ireland’s first medal of these 17th AIBA World Elite Boxing Championships in Almaty this morning with a scintillating display against Hungary’s no 4 seeded, Zoltan Harsca.
All three judges had the Donegal man ahead, as the eventual score flashed round the world, showing 30:27 30:27 30:27 for Quigley.
For the Donegal middleweight it was a record 31st successive win having last lost to Willie McLaughlin at welterweight in the IABA Elites at the National Stadium back in January 2012 and he aims to keep that winning streak up as he said in a media briefing after the bout against Harsca who had been floored by Quigley in the second:
“It’s a massive achievement for me”. “I went in there and I didn’t try to complicate things. I went in there with a game plan, two or three things to do
“I caught him with a lovely right hand in the second round and he went down from it. I’m ready for anybody”
“I never really took on the record until I got into the twenties and I saw it in the papers saying Quigley is 20-0 and blah, blah, blah. It’s always in the back of the head now. “It’s something I want to keep going. People like to try and break records and for people to be looking to break mine is an achievement in its own.” After the fight, Quigley tweeted: “Bronze assured impressive performance now back to focus and change the colour #finnvalley . Well that win means he next meets leading Russian Artem Chebotarev in Friday’s semi-final.
A very happy Quigley acknowledged the cheers of the crowd, blowing kisses left, right and centre including planting one on Head Coach Billy Walsh. Quigley kept to Walsh’s plan right from the opening gong, notably landing some heavy rights
In every round and always finishing the round the stronger of the two.
Quigley’s medal will be the eight one for an Irish boxer in these Championships since they began in Havana back in 1974 – John Joe Nevin who turned pro yesterday has accounted for two of the eight.
The day had started off with a major disappointment for the Irish team as Belfast’s Mick Conlan went under 30:27 30:27 29:28 to Russian, Vladimir Nikitin in their bantamweight clash. Conlan had just moved to bantam days before this tournament
commenced made no excuses but promised to be wiser next time round adding:
“It wasn’t a great performance but it was my first step up into the weight against probably the strongest boxer in the weight so I’m happy enough,” said the number 2 seed and London 2012 bronze medallist.
“In a year’s time I’ll probably be a different man. I was hurting him with shots; I just didn’t get the result.”
He later told his Social Media followers:
“Michael Conlan @mickconlan11
“Lost today, absolutely gutted! Thought I did enough to win it! That’s boxing win some lose some! Now I need a holiday. #sickened”
In the morning’s session, there was defeat too for another Belfast boxer, heavyweight Tommy McCarthy ,unseeded, who went under to Argentina’s Yamil Peralta on a split decision, 29:28 27:30 27:30.
Unheralded before the start of these championships, McCarthy did Ireland proud today against a vastly more experienced fighter who has starred in the World Series of Boxing earlier this year.
McCarthy summed up his feelings thus: “Gutted! I was so close but that’s the way it goes”. McCarthy though showed great promise in these championships and his day will surely come in major championships before long.
For Paddy Barnes it was a very sad end to a campaign that promised so much and he was clearly distressed regarding the manner of his defeat… He went out in the second bout of the afternoon’s session against Jasurbek Latipov of Uzbekistan in the flyweight class.
Both boxers had points deducted after public warnings by Polish referee, Mariusz Gorny, for dropping their heads in the second round of a contest all too frequently interrupted for holding, slapping or other infringements. The Uzbek fighter was at the receiving end – and rightly so – of most of these cautions.
A stricter referee would have intervened more forcefully as Barnes, who suffered a cut over his right eye, also appeared – both at the time and on playback – to have received several punches to the back of the head, a fact he indicated to the referee more than once during the bout and again as the final bell tolled.
The final scores in favour of Latipov were: 28-27,29-26,28-27 and so the no.4 seed progressed to the semi-finals.
After the bout, a very angry Barnes tweeted: “That’s it all over,” “Was out on my feet in the 1st round and didn’t recover blurred vision for 3 rds with head clashes! F**k your no headgear!”.
Tweeting later on the decision taken by the AIBA not to have headgear in AOB Boxing, Barnes concluded: “Fighting with no headgear is good, but to fight 6 times in 10 days without it is impossible, Dr Wu (AIBA President) doesn’t care he isn’t the one fighting.”
Media sources later quoted Irish Head Coach Billy Walsh as believing that Latipov “drove his knee” into Barnes’s head after Holy Family BC boxer went to the ground.
Walsh said that Barnes had to be treated for signs of possible concussion after the bout and may not even have been ‘compos mentis’ in the latter stages.
Ireland’s second ‘guaranteed’ medal came when Joe Ward gained a comprehensive victory over Russia’s Nikita Ivanov winning through when a flurry of punches saw the Russian suffer from a badly cut eye which resulted in the referee halting proceedings some 2:27 into the first. Ward was 10-9 ahead on all three cards and claimed a unanimous decision.
The Moate club man said later: “When I boxed in 2011 it was completely different because he was physically stronger than me.
“He put the pressure on me in 2011 and basically mowed me out of it.
“I told myself that from the start I needed to be in the centre and I had to drive him back from there.
“A European gold and a world bronze at 19 years of age what more can you ask?
“It’s unbelievable, I always dreamed of this sort of medal especially after missing out on the Olympics and not qualifying.
“I’m going to enjoy this evening and prepare. I’m enjoying every moment of it.”
The Westmeath man, who will be 20, next Wednesday, meets Cuban. Julio César la Cruz Peraza on Friday afternoon for a place in Saturday’s final.
On today’s form, few would bet against Ward reaching the final albeit it will be close, very close and could quite possibly prove to be the bout of these Championships.