Paddy Barnes and John Joe Nevin upgraded to silver at the European Championships at the Palace of Sports in Minsk, Belarus today.
Barnes, the 2010 European light-flyweight champion, comfortably beat 2001 European champion Salman Alizada of Azerbaijan on a unanimous decision.
And Nevin, who celebrates his 24th birthday today, showed his counter-punching class once again to earn a unanimous 29:28 decision over Russian bantamweight Vladimir Nikitin.
Barnes, showing a savage work rate and using his raking left as the triggering mechanism for three, four and five-punch combinations, dominated all three rounds against the Azeri and will now meet Russia No.1 seed David Ayrapetyan, who saw off the gallant challenge of England’s Jack Bateson today, in Saturday’s light-flyweight final.
Ayrapetyan, like Barnes, won a bronze medal at the London 2012 Olympics.
Boxing with precision off the back foot, Nevin used his slick counter-punching skills to subdue most of Nikitin’s advances. The Russian, a constant ball of aggression, took the fight to the No. 1 seed from the opening bell.
But Nevin kept snapping home lefts and rights on the counter to guarantee Ireland at least two silver medals in Minsk. The Cavan BC ace will meet Mykola Butsenko of the Ukraine in the 56kg decider tomorrow. Butsenko edged out Armenia’s Aram Avagyan on a split decision.
European Championships 2013
June 7th Semi-finals/
49Kg (Light-flyweight): Paddy Barnes (Ireland) beat Salman Alizada (Azerbaijan) 3-0
56kg (Bantamweight) John Joe Nevin beat Vladimir Nikitin (Russia)
June 8th Finals (12pm, Irish time)
49kg: Paddy Barnes (Ireland) v David Ayrapetyan (Russia)
56kg: John Joe Nevin (Ireland) v Mykola Butsenko (Ukraine)