Lightweight David Oliver Joyce into second round in Rio following dominant display
Following on from Steven Donnelly, David Oliver Joyce earned a unanimous decision victory over Andrique Allisop in the lightweight bracket after a blended display of grit and nous.
Not to be outdone by his teammate, the 29-year-old Joyce was near dominant throughout against the Seychelles fighter, and set up a Round of 16 showdown with World silver medalist Abert Selimov.
Allisop vexed Joyce in the opening minute but, thereafter, the Athy man found his timing and landed flurries to the midriff before going up top with aplomb.
In the second stanza, Joyce resumed his assault, closing the distance and firing with frequency. The action was briefly halted as Allisop cited an elbow to his left eye, which opened up a cut, but it never halted Joyce’s rhythm.
His right was unerring and punishing.
However, between the second and the third, two of the judges had the bout in the Irishman’s favour, at 20-18, while one scored it at 19-19.
The third round was more competitive as Joyce’s range momentarily betrayed him, but the sound of his guttural roars as he uncorked shots was utterly visceral.
Joyce stayed busy, maintained a constant pressure and, ultimately, almost completely stifled Allisop.
Joyce certainly has his work cut with Selimov, the 30-year-old second seed in the lightweight category is one of Europe's most decorated amateur boxers, though significantly he has never won an Olympic medal.
He fashioned most of his successes while boxing for the Russian Federation before transferring allegiance to Azerbaijan in time to compete in the European Games in Baku last summer where he won a gold medal in the lightweight category.
But it was as a featherweight - which is no longer an Olympic weight - that Selimov earned his lofty reputation. He won a gold medal in the featherweight category at the World championships in Chicago in 2007 beating the legendary Ukrainian boxer Yasyl Lomachenko in the final.
The latter got his revenge over Selimov in the Beijing Olympic Games but Selimov, who won European titles at the weight in 2006 and 2010, is back on the scent of Olympic glory in Rio.
Interestingly at last year's World championships in Doha he was decidedly fortunate to earn a split 2:1 win over Ireland's Sean McComb in the 60kg division. David Oliver Joyce subsequently beat McComb in the National Elite final last December to earn a crack at qualifying for the Olympics.