Misery continues for Irish boxers in Turkey as David Oliver Joyce suffers unanimous decision loss
A miserable day for Ireland at the Olympic qualifiers in Samsun, Turkey ended on another downer as lightweight David Oliver Joyce failed to qualify for Rio after dropping a unanimous 3-0 decision.
Newport native Joseph Cordina – who had lost to Joyce on two occasions four years ago –secured his Rio spot, though he was decidedly fortunate to get the verdict on a unanimous decision. Joyce will have another chance to secure his spot in Rio but he will have to beat a Turkish light weight in the box off.
He would be forgiven for thinking that history is set to repeat himself as four years ago he was desperately unlucky not to make the team for the London Games.
Cordina, the current European champion, has matured since those losses. This fight was an untidy affair with numerous interventions from the referee.
The first round was relevantly even though the speed of Cordina’s hand troubled Joyce and the UK boxer probably got the round on all three judges’ card because he scored with the clearer shots.
Joyce slipped on the canvass at the start of the second round but there was a much more controversial fall a minute into the round when he was caught by two head shots from Cordina. However, the referee didn’t give Joyce a count and appeared to regard the fall as another slip.
For the remainder of the round the all action Joyce was clearly on top and looked to have done enough to secure it. But the second fall seem to sway two of the judges who gave Cordina the round which effectively left the St Michael’s Athy boxer needing a knock-out to win the fight.
Joyce was on top in the third round which was extremely scrappy as Cordina knew he only had to stay upright. The Irishman got the round on two of the judges’ cards. But it was insufficient to give him the fight with Cordina winning 29-28 on all three judges’ cards.
Unless Joyce and Brendan Irvine can win their box-offs it will have been a disastrous tournament for Ireland. Not since before the Athens Olympics in 2004 has Irish boxers failed to secure an Olympic spot at these pre- qualifying tournaments.
Like Banquo’s ghost the image Billy Walsh hangs over Irish boxing.