Sunday 4 December 2016

Sean McComb exits World Championships in Doha in controversial circumstances

Sean McGoldrick in Doha

Published 09/10/2015 | 18:49

9 October 2015; Sean McComb, left, Ireland, exchanges punches with Albert Selimov, Azerbaijan, during their Men's Lightweight 60kg last 16 bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships, Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Doha, Qatar. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
9 October 2015; Sean McComb, left, Ireland, exchanges punches with Albert Selimov, Azerbaijan, during their Men's Lightweight 60kg last 16 bout. AIBA World Boxing Championships, Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, Doha, Qatar. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

A luckless Sean McComb bowed out of the World boxing championships after enduring a controversial 2-1 loss to European Games gold medallist Albert Selimov from Azerbaijan.

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It was the second time this season that the pair had clashed – they also met in the semi-final of the European Games. But while McComb gave a much improved performance the outcome was the same.

Not surprising given that both boxers do their best work on the counter it was an extremely tactical contest. There was hardly a punch thrown by either in the first 90 seconds but crucially Selimov did deliver one eye catching shot at the end of the round which effectively may have decided the contest.

Two of the judges gave the favourite the first round which left McComb facing an uphill battle.

“I thought I won the first round but losing it changed whole game plan. I had to go from plan A to plan B,” he lamented afterwards. However, McComb vowed he would avenge the defeat if they met again.

Team coach Billy Walsh acknowledged that losing the first round was a significant blow to McComb's prospects as he was forced to go forward more. He certainly was the busier fighter in the second round but it still wasn't enough to sway the judges.

Two of them again gave Selimov the round which effectively decided the contest as it left the Irish Elite champion needing a knock out if he was to advance to the final.

But the vagaries of the judging system was underlined that while Selimov led 20-18 on two cards McComb was ahead by two points on the other judge's card.

McComb finally got some reward for his efforts when he won the third round on all three judges' card but it was a pyrrhic success as the fight was essentially decided by then.

So Selimov advanced on a 29-28, 29-28, 27-30 verdict and he declared afterwards that it was the toughest fight he had ever been involved in.

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