Boxing: Bullish Nevin ready to make Irish history
John Joe Nevin has vowed to create even more Irish boxing history at the AIBA World Championships in Azerbaijan.
The Cavan BC bantamweight, who won bronze at the 2009 AIBA World Championships in Milan, guaranteed himself at least another bronze following his 19-17 last-eight win over Orzubek Shayimov of Uzbekistan yesterday.
He'll now meet England's Luke Campbell in tomorrow's 56kg semi-final and is just one win away from becoming the first male (Katie Taylor has won three AIBA World gold medals) in the history of Irish boxing to reach a World senior final.
Yesterday's win saw Nevin, who beat Hull native Campbell 13-2 in the 2009 EU semi-final in Denmark, become the first Irish boxer to claim two medals at this level.
However, the Irish Elite champion, who along with Darren O'Neill and Michael Conlan qualified for the 2012 Olympics by virtue of reaching the quarter-finals, wants to go all the way in Baku.
"I'm not going to stop at bronze. I've beaten him (Campbell) two years ago but he's improved a lot since then. It will be a very good fight, but I'll be up for it myself as well," he said.
Nevin was three points behind after the first round against Shayimov, a place he didn't expect to be in.
"I thought the lowest I'd be was a point down. But I pulled back two points in the second round and then in the final round I pulled back four," he said.
"That's my thing going into a fight, one round at a time, one punch at a time. Don't think who is outside the ring or what's going on. Just think about that moment, what you can do."
While Nevin was celebrating a unique double, Darren O'Neill and Michael Conlan had to be content with Olympic qualification after losing out in the last eight.
Kilkenny middleweight O'Neill dropped a 18-9 decision to Japan's Ryota Murata, and Belfast flyweight Conlan was edged out 25-24 by Andy Selby of Wales, the current European champion.
"I came to the World Championships hoping to qualify for the Olympics Games and I've done that. I'm obviously very disappointed, but on the day he was a better boxer," said O'Neill.
"That's my fourth fight in five days. I found it hard to get out of bed this morning. I was aching all over. I spent the morning with the physio trying to limber up.
"We can now go back and enjoy the achievement (of qualifying for the Olympics), but I'm disappointed that I didn't get the medal."
Conlan (19), who boxes out of the St John Bosco BC, produced another brave performance but agonisingly lost out by a single point to Selby. The Welshman won the first round 7-4 and ultimately that secured victory as Conlan won the next two rounds 10-9 and 10-9.
"I had three hard fights," said Conlan. "He hasn't had hard fights, he was seeded. I fought number two seeds, a two-time European medalist, and a Kazakhstan (boxer). Kazakhstan is one of the best countries in the world for boxing -- they were all wars."
Meanwhile, Roy Sheehan has now become one of Egidijus Kavaliauskas' "biggest fans" because if the Lithuanian welterweight beats Sapiyev Serik of Kazakhstan in tomorrow's semi-final, then Sheehan will qualify for the Olympics. Sheehan, of the St Michael's Athy BC, lost to Kavaliauskas in the last 16. However, boxers from eight of the weight divisions who lose in the last 16 will qualify if they were beaten by the eventual finalists.