Thursday 19 October 2017

Ireland's Sean McComb defeats reigning world and European champion to march into last eight

Ireland's Seán McComb
Ireland's Seán McComb

Sean McGoldrick

Belfast boxer Sean McComb (24) has achieved the most significant win of his career, defeating reigning World and European light-welterweight title holder Vitaliy Dunaytsev at the European Championshps in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

The 3-2 majority win secures McComb a place at the World Championships in Hamburg in August/September regardless of how he fares during the rest of the tournament.

He faces English boxer Luke McCormack in his next bout - with the winner guaranteed a bronze medal. McComb had previously beaten the highly rated Russian at a multi-nation tournament in Dublin in April so he knew what to expect.

The judging was incredibly tight but the Irish boxer got the nod from three of the five ringside judges by the minimum one point margin (29-28) with the other two officials scoring the contest in favour of the Russian by the same tight margin.

Under new rules introduced by the world governing body AIBA, the scoreboard of all five judges now counts so McComb could celebrate a famous win – which will almost certainly result in Sports Ireland restoring his funding which was cut at the start of the year.

Since then McComb has been relying on the support of his family to pursue his dream and this has enabled him to train full time with the High Elite squad now based in their new facility in Abbotstown.

There was no joy, however, for super heavyweight Dean Gardiner – who was at the centre of a selection controversy prior to the team travelling to the Ukraine. His was stopped by Ukraine super heavyweight Viktor Vykhryst two minutes and six seconds into the second round of their scheduled three round bout.

Later, Rio Olympian Brendan Irvine beat a Turkish opponent Bathuhan Citfci in a last 16 contest in the flyweight division on an unanimous 5-0 decision to secure a place in the quarter-finals as well as a spot at the World championships in Germany.

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