Jason Quigley to box for gold but Joe Ward beaten at Worlds
Donegal's Jason Quigley has made history as the first Irishman to claim a medal greater than bronze at the AIBA World Amateur Boxing Championships in Almaty, Kazakhstan but Moate's light-heaviyweight Joe Ward must settle for bronze.
In beating Russia's Artem Chebotarev in his middleweight semi-final, Quigley has now amassed a record of 32 victories and zero defeats in the 18 months he has boxed as middleweight in the senior ranks.
Chebotarev was a seriously dangerous opponent for the Ballybofey brawler despite being unseeded coming into the championships and stopped three opponents inside the distance on his way to the final four.
The Russian will have to make do with silver after succumbing to a 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 defeat to the reigning European champion.
Two of the three judges gave Quigley the nod in a nervy opening round but he took control in the second despite receiving a standing count for a stinging left-hand from the Russian.
Quigley easily took the final round which was stopped repeatedly after Chebotarev suffered a bloody nose.
Speaking after the fight, Quigley said: "We went through our tactics last night and we pulled them off to a tee today.
"I picked him off as he came at me, I knew I had the speed and the skill to beat him.
"In the last round they told me to go forward and go at him which I did and I caught him with some lovely, heavy shots and his nose started bleeding.
"There was definitely a few times a hurt him in that fight.
"I didn’t panic and I think that’s experience and learning through the years that when you hurt a man that’s when he is at his most dangerous.
"I kept my composure and kept on him and picked him off with better shots.
"No one is going to stop me doing it."
It's Ireland's first ever silver in the tournament where we have won bronze medals in the past through Tommy Corr (Munich 1982) Olympic champion Michael Carruth (Moscow 1989), Damaen Kelly (Tampere 1991), Stephen Kirk (Budapest 1997), James Moore (Belfast 2001) and John Joe Nevin (Milan 2009 and Baku 2011).
Quigley will fight against Kazakhstan fighter Zhanibek Alimkhanuly tomorrow morning for a gold medal.
The Kazakhstan fighter did not fight today. He progressed to the final after English middleweight Anthony Fowler withdrew due to a hand injury.
"Another Kazakh, it’s going to be difficult to beat him on his home patch but Jason is in great form and we’ll put a set of tactics together tonight," Irish head coach Billy Walsh said.
"Jason is resting and recovering at the moment because he had a tough fight and obviously his opponent didn’t have a fight and he’s going to be fresh.
"Jason is on fire at the moment and anything is possible."
Cuba's world champion Julio Cesar De La Cruz Peraza beat Joe Ward to end his world title chances.
The Cuban won all three rounds of their bout in Kazakhstan for a 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 win, it means Ward will return to Moate with a bronze medal.
"I just couldn’t get to him, he was very tricky," Ward admitted after the fight.
"He’s an exceptional boxer, his movement and his was perfect. I just couldn’t get the range for the whole three rounds.
"His tactics were perfect. I can’t complain. I had a great tournament and came out with a bronze medal .
"I lost fair and square, experience got him through it."
Speaking after Joe's defeat, Walsh said: "We got off to a great start with Jason, he put in a phenomenal performance.
"We had hopes for Joe but his opponent was very elusive. His movement was exceptional and although he was landing any big scores, Joe was finding very difficult to track him down and to hit him.
"It was a big learning curve for Joe who is still only 19 against a world champion like him."