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Boxer David Oliver Joyce only three rounds away from London Olympics

IRISH boxer David Oliver Joyce is through to the quarter-finals of the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey. He had an impressive 22-14 victory over Artur Bril of Germany today.

IRISH boxer David Oliver Joyce is through to the quarter-finals of the Olympic qualifiers in Turkey. He had an impressive 22-14 victory over Artur Bril of Germany today.

The boxer from the St Michael’s club in Athy opened a narrow 7-6 lead after the opening round, but then outpointing his opponent 8-4 in the second round and by 7-4 in the final round.

Joyce is now just one victory away from a place at the London Olympics. His next fight is against the Lithuanian Petrauskas at 1.30pm, Irish time, tomorrow.

This was encouraging news after yesterday’s disappointment over defeated Joe Ward.

Wards’ hopes of making the London 2012 Olympics came to a crushing end after he was controversially eliminated by Turkish light-heavyweight Bahram Muzaffer in Turkey yesterday.

Muzaffer, who was beaten by Ken Egan at the 2008 Olympic Games, was handed a shock 18-15 decision in yesterday's Olympic qualifying tournament in Trabzon, a result that was upheld after an appeal from the Irish camp.

Muzaffer was 4-3 up at the end of the first round and 12-11 ahead at the end of the second and was controversially adjudged to have scored six points in the last round.

Judges from the Philippines, China, Italy, Algeria and Croatia scored the last-16 clash, which was refereed by Bakhytzhan Bekpenbetov of Kazakhstan.

Speaking from ringside in Trabzon, Tommy Murphy, the president of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, said he believed that Ward, the current European champion, was the victim of a local decision.

Murphy confirmed that they had lodged a protest – which costs $500 to lodge – with World Amateur Boxing Association AIBA at the result, but, with no rule shown to have been broken, the decision could not be overturned.

“I feel Joe was done out of tonight's fight by a local decision. I have no doubt about it and I have been involved in boxing all my life,” said Murphy.

“As far as I'm concerned Joe won the first two rounds and rattled his opponent in the third and the result still went against him.” Irish team manager Des Donnelly was left shaking his head at the result: “Joe won the fight. It was a very bad decision,” he said.

Irish head coach Billy Walsh, who was working Ward's corner with Zuar Antia last night, said that he thought Ward landed the cleaner shots in the crucial final frame.

“You are here in front of a partisan crowd and even if Joe is hitting they can be pressing the wrong buttons. You don’t know. It’s very unfortunate,” said Walsh.

“We’ve had two chances to qualify and he has not done it and he is one of the best boxers in the world at the weight division. “Joe is ahead of his time as regards Olympic qualification – he’s 18 years of age – he really should be looking at the next time around.

“He’s an awesome talent and he is up there with the best in the world. They will be all very happy to see that he has not qualified for London.”

Meanwhile, Tipperary super-heavyweight Con Sheehan was beaten 17-12 by Muhammet Erkan Aci, also of Turkey, last night. Earlier last evening, Belfast heavyweight Tommy McCarthy convincingly beat Copla Alem (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 12-3 to set up a lasteight meeting with Hungary's Josepf Darmos on Wednesday. In yesterday’s afternoon session, Adam Nolan advanced to the welterweight quarter-finals with a 14-9 win over Thomasz Kot of Poland, but Grangecon BC light-welterweight Ross Hickey lost 24-11 to Dimitri Galagot of Moldova.