All four Irish boxers win in Minsk to claim at least silver
Birthday boy John Joe Nevin, Jason Quigley, Michael Conlan and Paddy Barnes guaranteed themselves European silver medals after facile wins in their respective European championship semi-finals today in Minsk.
Paddy Barnes was at his imperious best as he easily defeated Azerbaijan's Salman Alizada to claim at least a silver at the European Championships in Minsk while London Olympic silver medallist Nevin easily defeated Wladimir Nikitin.
The performance of the day came from Donegal's Jason Quigley who qualified for tomorrow's middleweight final by beating reigning world champion Ievgen Khytrov while Michael Conlan advanced after a split decision victory.
The double Olympic bronze medallist will now face Russia's highly regarded David Ayrapetyan in the decider tomorrow after a 30-27, 30-27, 30-27 victory.
Barnes was on the front foot in the opening round deploying his typically abbrasive style.
The 2010 European Champion was almost impossible to hit as he bobbed and weaved and was given the round by three judges on a scoreline of 30-27.
Barnes suffered a nose bleed in the second but the Belfast boxer was still in command and was unanimous winner of the second, again 30-27.
Alizada rallied a bit in the third but the result was never in doubt and he was given the round by all three judges for the third time.
John Joe Nevin, who turned 24 today, entered the ring immediately after the victorious Barnes in his bantamweight semi-final against Russia's Wladimir Nikitin.
The Russian was very game in the opening round but struggled to cope with Nevin's class and speed and the Mullingar man won the first round 30-27.
Nevin was punishing every mistake from the Russian with lightning fast combinations and he took the second 30-27.
Some complacency crept into Nevin's approach in the third but he was never in any real danger of losing and will face the Ukraine's Mykola Butsenko in tomorrow's final.
Reigning under-23 European champion Jason Quigle made it three from three for Ireland with a stunning victory over reigning World middleweight champion Ievgen Khytrov.
Two of the three judges scoring the first round sided with Quigley who used his quick feet to evade the heavy punching of the Ukrainian.
It was a tremendous fight in the final two rounds with both men trading massive shots but Quigley stood firm for the biggest win of his career and will face Bogdan Juratoni of Romania in tomorrow's final.
London bronze medallist Michael Conlan was the final Irish boxer in action against Russia's Ovic Ogannisian.
Conlan opting to box southpaw in the opening round was on top and won the first round 10-9 on all the judges scorecards.
The Belfast boxer didn't have things his own way with the dangerous Ogannisian scoring with some nice shots but he eventually won by a split decision 30-27, 28-29, 30-27.