Saturday 10 December 2016

'It's ridiculous - I'm in shock' - Michael O'Reilly left stunned after Olympics dream ends in controversy

Sean McGoldrick in Doha

Published 14/10/2015 | 17:52

14 October 2015; Michael O'Reilly, Ireland, reacts alongside coaches Zaur Antia and Billy Walsh, right, after being beaten by Hosam Abdin, Egypt, in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships, Semi-Finals. Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Doha, Qatar. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
14 October 2015; Michael O'Reilly, Ireland, reacts alongside coaches Zaur Antia and Billy Walsh, right, after being beaten by Hosam Abdin, Egypt, in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships, Semi-Finals. Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Doha, Qatar. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Michael O'Reilly reacts alongside coaches Zaur Antia and Billy Walsh, right, after being beaten by Hosam Abdin, Egypt, in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Portlaoise Michael O'Reilly has suffered a controversial loss in his box-off for Olympic qualification at the World championships in Doha.

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The Irish middleweight – who is assured of a bronze medal – went down to a highly debatable 3-0 decision. Interestingly the score after each round wasn't available to journalists in the arena as normal but the general view was that the Irishman had prevailed in the first two rounds

"I’m absolutely gutted myself, I don’t know what went on, it’s just ridiculous. In my mind I was up and won every round easy. I’m still in shock," said O'Reilly.

The veteran Egyptian Hosam Abdin secured a precious Olympic place and one wonders whether he was one of the few boxers from the Middle East to be in contention for a place on final day had any influence on the judging.

Michael O'Reilly reacts alongside coaches Zaur Antia and Billy Walsh, right, after being beaten by Hosam Abdin, Egypt, in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Michael O'Reilly reacts alongside coaches Zaur Antia and Billy Walsh, right, after being beaten by Hosam Abdin, Egypt, in their Men's Middleweight 75kg Box-Off bout. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

Granted O'Reilly shipped more punches than he normally does but he seemed to have done enough to win both the first and second rounds. Interestingly in the highlight shown between the rounds it was the Irishman who was shown to be on target.

But with the Egyptian 20-18 ahead on all three judges cards at the end of the second round his fate was effectively sealed. He did win the third round but it mattered little.

Despite this setback O'Reilly still has had a remarkable season winning a gold medal at the inaugural European Games and securing a bronze medal for Doha.

He will have two more chances to secure that elusive Olympic spot but the fact that he was essentially robbed on this occasion won't sit easy with him.

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