Saturday 25 November 2017

John Joe Nevin and Jason Quigley claim European gold in Minsk

John Joe Nevin celebrates
John Joe Nevin celebrates
John Joe Nevin, Ireland, celebrates with his gold medal after defeating Mykola Butsenko
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

John Joe Nevin was at his imperious best as he claimed European gold and Jason Quigley was courageous in his bout to join Nevin on the top step of the podium.

The Mullingar fighter, who turned 24 yesterday, never looked like losing as he controlled the fight from start to finish, Quigley's won was a much closer affair but a huge moment in a very young career.

Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes had to settle for silver after Conlan was beaten on a split decision to Anndrew Selby and a fractured nose forced Barnes to withdraw from the final.

John Joe was the unanimous victory of the opening round with his nimble movement and his ability to box accurately on the back foot too much for the Ukrainian to handle.

Nevin continued in cruise control in the second round and although he dropped the intensity in the third and the round was given to the challenger by two judges, he ran out a unanimous 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 winner.

Nevin's first European title also means that he rises to number one in the AIBA World Rankings for the bantamweight division.

Donegal's Jason Quigley, sporting two black eyes, was the last Irish boxer in action today in his middleweight final against Romania's Bogdan Juratoni.

The Romanian, a previous European bronze medallist and the number two seed, would have fancied his chances but Quigley dictated the opening round with all three judges stumping for him.

Juratoni stepped it up in the second round and was adjudged to have won the round by two of the three judges.

Quigley held a marginal lead going into the final round but was visibly tiring with shouts of 'wake up' from the Irish corner.

He rallied late in the round and that was enough for Quigley to claim a 30-27, 28-29, 29-28 win.

There was final heartbreak for Michael Conlan who lost in his decider on a split decision.

The Belfast flyweight was up against Wales' Andrew Selby in a repeat of the 2011 World Championships quarter-final that Selby edged 24-25 in a classic.

Selby went on to win the 2011 World Championships.

Both boxers landed blows in the first round with two judges going for Selby and one for Michael Conlan.

The tit-for-tat nature of the fight continued and all three judges scored exactly the same for the second round as they had for the first.

For the third successive round one judge went for Conlan but it wasn't enough to see him to victory with Selby victorious on a 28-29 29-28 30-27 scoreline.

It was Selby's third win from three over Conlan.

Paddy Barnes had to be content with a European silver medal after injury ruled him out of his light flyweight final with Russia's David Ayrapetyan.

The double Olympic bronze medallist fractured his nose in his semi-final yesterday and following a meeting with Irish Head Coach Billy Walsh they decided to withdraw.

"The safety of our boxers is more important than gold medals," Walsh said.

Barnes, who was a European gold medallist in 2010, will now receive a silver medal with the Russian taking gold.

Irish Independent

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