Saturday 1 October 2016

Donnelly win gives boxing team a reason to celebrate

Harry Clarke

Published 12/08/2016 | 02:30

Donnelly celebrates his victory. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra
Donnelly celebrates his victory. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

Ballymena fighter Steven Donnelly gave the beleaguered boxing team a much-needed boost yesterday as he advanced to the welterweight quarter-finals.

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Donnelly made it two wins out of two with a split-decision victory over Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia after an absorbing contest in the 69kg weight division.

Irish boxers, from left to right, Paddy Barnes, David Oliver Joyce and Michael Conlan watch on during Steven Donnelly’s fight against Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia. SPORTSFILE
Irish boxers, from left to right, Paddy Barnes, David Oliver Joyce and Michael Conlan watch on during Steven Donnelly’s fight against Tuvshinbat Byamba of Mongolia. SPORTSFILE

"There was less pressure than in the first fight. I was chilled in the dressing room and just listened to my coaches' plan," the 29-year-old said.

His win halted a series of disatrous results after medal hopefuls Paddy Barnes and Joe Ward slumped out.

The poor form has raised questions in some quarters whether the loss of boxing supremo Billy Walsh was to blame.

Read more: Donnelly grabs much needed win for Irish boxing as he moves into welterweight quarter-finals

Paddy Barnes has stated categorically that none of Ireland's loses in the ring are attributed to the absence of Walsh.

"Anyone that thinks Billy Walsh is the reason for any Irish loss doesn't know anything about Irish amateur boxing and that's a fact!" Barnes wrote on Twitter.

Barnes also added that he has been fully behind Walsh and his decision to leave Ireland for the States.

Team captain at the London Olympics, Darren O'Neill, also feels Walsh's absence is being overstated.

However, Olympic medallist John Joe Nevin feels that Walsh's loss is being felt in the Irish camp.

"It's easy to have an off day, but as I said last year when Billy Walsh left, he is a big loss," Nevin said.

Irish Independent

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