Monday 23 April 2018

Boxing: Silver bullet can earn more glory for Nevin

John Joe Nevin is determined to go home with at least a silver medal in pocket
John Joe Nevin is determined to go home with at least a silver medal in pocket

Bernard O'Neill

John Joe Nevin expects today's AIBA World Championships bantamweight semi-final duel with England's Luke Campbell in Azerbaijan to be a "whole different ball game" than the last time they clashed.

Nevin and the 2008 European champion are set to go head to head at approximately 11.30am (Irish time) in a repeat of their 2009 European Union last-four clash, which Nevin won 13-2.

If Mullingar-born Nevin, who boxes out of the Cavan BC, beats Hull native Campbell, he'll face either Cuba's Lazaro Estrada-Alverez or Tajikistan's Anvar Yunusov in the 56kg final tomorrow.

Having already secured bronze by virtue of reaching the semi-final, the 22-year-old, a bronze medal winner at the 2009 World Championships in Milan, has become the first Irish male boxer to win two medals at this level.

Tommy Corr (1982), Michael Carruth (1989), Damaen Kelly (1993), Stephen Kirk (1997), James Moore (2001) and Nevin in 2009 all have one bronze medal from this level in their trophy cabinets.

Carruth had to settle for light-welterweight bronze after being beaten by Andreas Otto in 1989 but beat the German en route to welterweight gold at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

Nevin wants to go one better than a bronze this time out and, while he is taking nothing for granted, the 22-year-old believes he has the arsenal and the talent to claim at least a silver medal.

"I beat him before but it will be a whole different ball game this time out," said Nevin. "He's through to the semi-finals on merit. He's improved a lot since I beat him and he's beaten the current world champion to get there.

"I won't be thinking of the last time I boxed him. I'm going to go in there and box like it's just another fight, another day at the office.

"I've qualified for my second Olympics and I'll be taking at least a bronze home from these World Championships as well.

"I'm very proud of that, but this time I want to change the colour of the medal to silver or gold.

"I'm fit and ready for it. My weight is good and I'm confident and looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, Egidijus Kavaliauskas of Lithuania might not realise it, but he's recently acquired a whole army of fans in Ireland. Kavaliauskas meets Sapiyev Serik of Kazakhstan today (4pm) and if he wins, Irish welterweight Roy Sheehan will qualify for the Olympics. Sheehan, of the St Michael's Athy BC, was beaten by Kavaliauskas in the last 16.

However, boxers losing out in the last 16 in eight of the weight categories from light-fly to light-heavy will qualify for the 30th Olympiad if they were beaten by the eventual finalists.

Nevin, Darren O'Neill and Michael Conlan qualified for the 2012 Olympics by virtue of reaching the quarter-finals in Baku.

Ninety-two boxers will have secured Olympic places following today's semi-finals at the 113-nation World Championships; 286 boxers will compete at the London Games.

There will be one final Olympic qualifying event for European male boxers in Istanbul next April.

John Joe Nevin v Luke Campbell,

Live, RTE1, 11.25

Irish Independent

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