Walsh hails 'amazing' Irish as Nevin goes to World No 1
IF the league table doesn't lie and Russia is the most successful boxing nation in the world, where does that leave Ireland in the grand scheme of things after John Joe Nevin and Jason Quigley secured gold at the Minsk Palace of Sports in Belarus and Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan took home silver.
Nevin, who beat Ukrainian southpaw Mykola Butsenko in Saturday's final, also scooped the Boxer of the Championships award 24 hours after his 24th birthday.
Donegal middleweight Quigley earned a split decision over Romania's Bogdan Juratoni to complete a unique hat-trick as he finished on top of the podium at the 2009 European Youth Championships in Poland and the inaugural European U-23 Championships in Russia last year.
Barnes was due to meet Russia's David Arypatan in the light-fly dust-up but was forced to concede a walkover after breaking his nose.
Conlan lost to his nemesis, Wales' Andrew Selby. The Belfast switch-hitter gave it everything he had in a classic light-fly final, but Selby, the No 1 seed, edged a split-decision.
Nevin, Conlan, Barnes will now improve on their placings when the AIBA World rankings are updated next month.
Nevin will move into pole position and become the only Irish boxer beside Katie Taylor to be ranked No 1 in the world, while Quigley will earn an AIBA World ranking – probably a top-seven place – for the first time.
The AIBA rankings, which are based on performances at approved tournaments, will be used to determine the seeds for the 2013 World Championships in Kazakhstan in October.
Head coach Billy Walsh, who was working Ireland's corner with Zuar Antia and Eddie Bolger in Minsk, said: "Sometimes, I'm amazed myself with our lads. Every year year we go out and achieve success.
"It's a phenomenal team and none of them are happy with settling for second best
"Obviously, our preparations is the key – especially that training camp in the Ukraine. I feel we'll never be left in there again because we've beaten two of their favourites and they haven't spoken to us since!
"It has been another memorable Championships for us and our lads produced some great performances. We regrouped last Monday after three of the lads went out and the guys responded magnificently."
Ireland has now won ten gold, three silver and eight bronze medals in the European Championships since the IABA set up their High Performance Unit in 2003.
l Russia's Nikitia Ivanov claimed light-heavy gold in Minsk. Joe Ward, who withdrew injured after twisting his left kneecap in his first fight with Poland's Mateusz Tryc in Minsk, hammered Ivanov in the 2011 European final in Ankara.