Monday 23 October 2017

Conlon stuns Yafai in Irish tour de force


Bernard O'Neill

IRELAND are heading into a crucial 24 hours at the European Senior Championships in Turkey after claiming eight wins out of 10 in Ankara over the weekend.

Team captain Darren O'Neill, Michael Conlon and Willie McLaughlin all won yesterday to advance to the last-16 and quarter-final stages of the tournament.

Belfast flyweight Michael Conlon produced a magnificent final round to stun England's ex-World Cadet champ Khalid Yafai to march into the last eight.

Described by Irish coach Jimmy Halpin as an uncut diamond, Conlon, of the St John Bosco BC, hammered out an 19-10 decision over the Beijing Olympian and 2010 European silver medalist.

"It was an absolutely brilliant performance from Michael. The first two rounds were fairly close but he ran away with the third," said IABA director of boxing Dominic O'Rourke.

Conlon will now meet Italy's Vincenzo Picardi in the quarter-finals tomorrow just one win away from claiming at least bronze at the 2011 championships.

Conlon was joined in the last-eight by Willie McLaughlin, following the Donegal welterweight's 20-14 verdict over Borna Katalinicof of Croatia yesterday. The Illies GG ace will now meet Zaal Kvachatadze of Georgia tomorrow.

Kilkenny southpaw O'Neill progressed to the last-16 in Ankara with a convincing 16-9 win over Germany's Denis Radovan in the middleweight class.

The 2009 EU champ, a silver medal winner at the 2010 European Championships, forced Radovan into a standing count in the second round of the 75kg duel.

Dublin lightweight Michael McDonagh bowed out following a 16-6 reversal to Valodymyr Matvichuk of the Ukraine yesterday, while Con Sheehan lost 22-19 to Russian heavyweight Abdulkhamid Nurmagomedov.

World Youth champ Joe Ward meets Ainar Karlson of Estonia today. John Joe Nevin, Ray Moylette, Cathal McMonagle and O'Neill will also be between the ropes for last-16 clashes. The quarter-finals will be held tomorrow with the semi-finals and finals pencilled in for Thursday and Friday.

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Irish Independent

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