Three of Ireland’s six man squad have qualified for the Sundays’s finals of the Olympic Test boxing tournament here at the Excel Centre in London Docklands.
In Saturday’s semi-finals, Egan was particularly impressive and almost back to his brilliant best, in defeating the Australian, Damien Hooper, 15-11 in their light heavyweight clash. The Neilstown southpaw recorded his second win at the Excel Centre in 48 hours and this against the current AIBA world number 2, and 2010 Olympic Youth Champion.
It was an excellent display by Egan against the much younger fighter and will give great encouragement to the Dublin ‘veteran’ and Beijing Silver medallist, in his quest to represent Ireland once more in London 2012. Before that of course he has to regain his Irish title from Joe Ward and if that should happen then there would then be the matter of qualifying via the final Olympic Qualifying tournament in Turkey.
That said this was Egan’s most impressive performance since those heady days in Beijing. In Sunday’s final, Egan comes up against Yamaguchi Florentino of Brazil, the silver medal winner at the recent 2011 Pan American Games.
The ‘surprise packet’ of this Irish team has been Belfast middleweight Cummings who produced arguably his best performance yet in defeating his Brazilian opponent Esquiva Florentino 19-13. His prize for that is a place in the 75Kg final against
Maxim Koptyakov of Russia, a silver medallist in the 2008 European Championships in Liverpool where he had a 10:2 victory to his credit over Ireland’s Eamon O’Kane in their semi-final.
In their semi-final clash on Saturday, Cummings benefited from Florentino having received a public warning in round three (he had been previously cautioned on several occasions).
Clonmel’s super-heavyweight Sheehan, meets Evgnios Lazaridis of Greece in Sunday’s final here ,following an 11-7 decision over Mohammad Arjaoui of Morocco.
Sheehan was 3-2 ahead at end of the first and led 6-5 going into the third and was a worthy winner against Arjaoui.
In Saturday’s semi-finals ,David Oliver Joyce and Tommy McCarthy suffered defeats – Joyce went under 13:9 to Germany Eugen Burhard, in what proved to be one of the best bouts of the evening
Burhard took two standing counts in the third as the St Michael’s Athy club man fought hard to make up the second round deficit but despite the standing counts, it was not to be.
McCarthy went out 16-9 against Kazakh heavyweight Vassily Levit. The Belfast fighter was 5-3 behind at the end of the first . A good second round reduced the deficit to 9:7but his opponent finish much the stronger with seven shots on target and a clear winner of that contest. A reminder of the Irish results todate :-
Olympic Test Event ExCel London
November 24th Quarter-finals
81Kg: Ken Egan (Ireland) beat Xuan Bao (China) 13-6
November 25th Quarter-finals
51Kg: Declan Geraghty (Ireland) lost to Worapoj Petchkoom (Thailand) 12-13
60Kg: David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) beat Donato Consenza (Italy) 12-8
November 26th Semi-Finals
60kg: David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) lost to Eugen Burhard (Germany) 9-13
75Kg: Conrad Cummings (Ireland) beat Esquiva Florentino (Brazil) 19-13
81Kg: Ken Egan (Ireland) beat Damien Hooper (Australia) 15-11
91Kg: Tommy McCarthy (Ireland) lost to Vassily Levit (Kazakhstan) 9-16
91Kg+: Con Sheehan (Ireland) beat Mohammad Arjaoui (Morocco) 11-7
Team manager: Des Donnelly
Coaches: Billy Walsh & Zuar Antia
Physio: Conor McCarthy
In the women’s bouts, two excellent performances from members of Team GB again on Saturday. Through to Sunday’s final are Liverpool’s Natasha Jonas at 60kg and at 75kg Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall. In Saturday’s semi-finals, Jonas (27) overcame Russia’s Anastasia Belyakova 13-11 and now meets China’s Cheng Dong in Sunday’s final.
The Chinese world championships silver medallist from 2008 and 2010 ( she lost on both occasions to Katie Taylor) overcame the Italian Romina Marenda in the second semi final. Jonas is emerging as a strong challenger to Katie Taylor at this weight and will benefit from home support in London IF she qualifies.
Marshall had a tougher fight on her hands, when coming up against Franchon Crews of the United States but Marshall who is one of GB’s leading hopes for an Olympic medal ran out the winner on a scoreline 14: 12.
The third of the women’s finals ,at flyweight, will be between Russian’s Olesya Gladkova and Sarah Ourahomoune, of France, who gained the silver medal at the recent Europeans in Rotterdam when defeated by GB’s Nikki Adams.