John Joe Nevin one victory away from Olympic medal after making quarter finals
MULLINGAR bantamweight, John Joe Nevin, is just one victory from an Olympic medal after battling into the last eight in London today.
Nevin recorded an impressive 15-10 victory over Kazakhstan's Kanat Abutalipov, much to the delight of a huge and partisan Irish following in the vast east-end arena. "The whole thing is to improve with every fight and I think I'm doing that" said Nevin. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think I could go all the way."
Nevin was technically too smart for the aggressive Kazak fighter he previously beat at the Presidents Cup in Baku three years ago. The margin then was 15-2, but Abutalipov is seen as a much improved fighter who won every one of his contests in the World Series of Boxing last year.
A very cagey opening round put Nevin 5-2 clear, both boxers essentially checking one another out before the real attrition got under way. Nevin's trademark jab kept the Kazak frustrated, his dancing feet taking him away from potential traps.
He stunned the Kazak with two beautiful rights in the second round and Nevin's Beijing experience began to tell. He won that round 5-3 and though the judges marked the final round a 5-5 draw, Nevin was never in the remotest danger of defeat.
"In the last eight of the Olympics at just 23, that's really something" said a delighted Irish head coach, Billy Walsh.
Nevin's next opponent will be Mexican Oscar Valdez Fierro who surprisingly got the better of number four seed, Anvar Yunosov.. That bout takes place next Sunday night.