Boxing: Burnett puts Holy Family in line for more success with surge to final
RYAN BURNETT guaranteed Ireland a podium finish at the inaugural Youth Olympics with a controlled semi-final win in Singapore yesterday.
The Holy Family BC Belfast clubman recorded a 2-1 victory over Uzbek light-flyweight Zohidion Hoorboyev at the International Convention Centre and will be taking home at least a silver medal.
The win, achieved over three three-minute rounds, sets up Wednesday's 48kg final with Salman Alizida of Azerbaijan in a repeat of last May's AIBA World Youth final, which Alizida won 9-4 in Baku, Azerbaijan.
However, Burnett, who earned his winning points with rights to the body and head in the first and third rounds yesterday -- Hoorboyev equalised with a body shot in the second -- reckons he'll set the record straight in the rematch.
"I'll just stick to the game plan in the final and listen to my coaches Jim Moore and Jimmy Payne. I'm confident that I can win on Wednesday," said Burnett.
"I thought that I scored a lot more in the semi-final and that 8-3 would have been a fairer result for me. He had a very high guard and I had to be patient.
"I can't wait for Wednesday's final. I've won twice out here in Singapore to get this far and I have at least a silver medal now and my confidence is high."
Yesterday's win was another victory for the Holy Family BC as Burnett's team-mate at the club, Paddy Barnes, claimed Ireland's first medal (bronze) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, also at light-fly.
And Hugh Russell, also of the Holy Family BC, won bronze for Ireland at the Olympic Games in Moscow in 1980 at flyweight.
World Youth champion Joe Ward bowed out of the Youth Olympics on Saturday when he was beaten 4-2 by Aussie middleweight Damien Hooper in a repeat of May's World Youth final which Ward won 6-1.
Ward, from the Moate BC in Westmeath, injured his left hand in the first round of his quarter-final and an X-ray showed that he had in fact broken it, ruling him out of yesterday's fifth-place box-off.
Dominic O'Rourke, the IABA director of boxing, praised the performances of the Irish duo over the weekend and said they were thrilled with Burnett's win.
"Ryan was magnificent and we can't praise him highly enough for what is another fantastic achievement for Irish amateur boxing," O'Rourke said. "Joe showed tremendous courage in his quarter-final, considering his injury.
"It just shows what winning a medal for Ireland meant to him. Wednesday's final will be tight, but Ryan has showed what he can do at this level already and his confidence will be very high."