Sunday 18 February 2018

Michael Conlan claims AIBA bantamweight world crown in Doha

Michael Conlan has made history at the World Boxing Championship in Doha
Michael Conlan has made history at the World Boxing Championship in Doha

Michael Conlan was crowned Ireland's first men's AIBA world champion after a unanimous points victory over Uzbekistan's Murodjon Akhmadaliev in their bantamweight final in Doha.

Despite going down to a right hook late in the third round, the 23-year-old Belfast fighter came through 30-27, 29-28, 29-27 to add the world title to the Olympic bronze medal he won in London in 2012.

Conlan joins Katie Taylor as the only Irish fighters to win AIBA world titles, with Taylor due to go for her sixth in Kazakhstan early next year.

And they could be joined on Thursday by another Irish winner, with Joe Ward set to face classy Cuban Julio La Cruz in the light-heavyweight final.

Conlan was relieved to avoid humiliation at the end after hitting the deck a minute before the end of the fight.

He told the BBC: "I am a bit embarrassed at getting knocked down in the last round.

"It is the first time I have been on the canvas in my life. He hit me right on the button."

Fellow Irishman Michael O'Reilly missed out on a place at the Rio Olympics following a controversial defeat to Hosam Abdin in the middleweight class.

O' Reilly, who had already won a bronze medal, lost the first two rounds to his Egyptian opponent, despite out punching him, and although he won the third it was not enough to stave off a controversial 29-28 defeat.

Press Association

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