'Devastated' Nevin promises to atone
JOHN JOE NEVIN had to settle for bronze after losing out in his bid to become the first Irishman to reach a World Championships senior final following a countback reversal to England's Luke Campbell in Baku, Azerbaijan yesterday.
Both boxers were tied at 12-12 at the end of a tactical affair, but it was Campbell that got the nod on accepted scores to advance to today's 56kg final against Lazaro Alvarez-Estrada of Cuba.
In the event of a tie, the lowest and highest of the five judges' scores are deleted. The winner is then declared by the total scores from the three remaining judges. World amateur boxing chiefs AIBA don't release countback scores.
Despite landing the cleaner punches, Mullingar-born Nevin found himself 4-3 down against the Hull southpaw after the first, but won the second 6-5 to level the duel at 9-9.
The 22-year-old Irish bantamweight, who claimed bronze at the 2009 World Championships, appeared to be on course for victory after detonating a big right in a neutral corner early in the third and last frame.
But slack defending saw the Cavan BC man clipped by a combo from the rangy Campbell just past mid-way, a concession which probably cost the Irish Elite champion victory.
One of the five ringside judges -- a Cuban -- scored the final round 4-1 to Campbell, an eyebrow-raising verdict which could have influenced the countback in the English fighter's favour.
Irish head coach Billy Walsh, who was working Ireland's corner in Baku along with Zuar Antia and Jimmy Halpin, said that he believed that Nevin should have won by a few hits.
Nevin, whose body shots appeared to have made little or no impression on the judges, admitted that he was devastated to have lost out.
"I definitely thought I won the last round, so did my corner. I don't know where they came up with 12-12 and him getting the decision," he said.
"I'm devastated now because I've beaten him before. He came back and he got the decision, fair play to him, but I'll be back again and I'll get him again.
"He's a tall boxer. If I was going to go to him he was going to pick me off. He knew I picked him off well the last time I beat him 13-2. He didn't want to come so it was a matter of cat and mouse, who got the lead.
"He got the lead but I still kept my cool and I don't know how I lost the fight, but that's the sport. Every dog has his day. He had his day and I'll have mine again."
Nevin, Darren O'Neill and Michael Conlan qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games at the tournament, but Irish welterweight Roy Sheehan's hopes were dashed yesterday.
Sheehan was hoping that Egidijus Kavaliauskas of Lithuania, who beat Sheehan in the last-16, would beat Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan in yesterday's 69kg semi-final.
But Sapiyev won the fight after Kavaliauskas was retired by his corner at the end of the first round.
Boxers losing in the last-16 to the eventual finalists in the eight weight categories from light-fly to light-heavy qualify for the Olympic Games.
The 10-man Irish squad are due to arrive back at Dublin Airport at 5.20 tomorrow evening.
There will be one final qualifier for European male boxers in Istanbul next April.
Katie Taylor and the Irish women's team will get one opportunity to qualify for the 30th Olympiad from the the 2012 AIBA Women's World Championships in China next May.