Wednesday 17 January 2018

Walsh happy 'wily' Egan ready to rock

Bernard O'Neill

KENNY EGAN could meet Cuban heavyweight Jose Angel Larduet in his opening bout of the AIBA World Championships and Olympic qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The Dublin southpaw, seeded sixth, received a bye in the first round at yesterday's draw and will face either Larduet -- who was selected ahead of Olympic Youth champion Leiner Perot -- or Czech Republic's Lubas Velecky in the 91kg class next Monday.

No 2seed Joe Ward, Paddy Barnes (eight) and John Joe Nevin (four) also received byes into the last-32 and are just two wins away from qualifying for the Olympics.

Seventeen-year-old Ward, the current European and 2010 AIBA World Youth champion, will meet Dmitrov Stoimen of Bulgaria or Abdurakhmonov Dilovasnoi of Tajikistan at 81kg next Sunday.

Barnes (49kg) faces either Mark Barriga (Philippines) or Stefan Caslarov (Romania) next Monday and, if he advances, could clash with Zou Shiming in the last-16 in a repeat of the 2008 Olympic semi-final. Nevin (56kg) begins his campaign the same day against either Filip Barak (Slovakia) or Akhil Kumar (India).

Meanwhile, Con Sheehan may end up trading leather with 2008 Olympic gold medalist and 2009 AIBA World super-heavyweight champion Roberto Cammerelle of Italy if he beats Faruth Kalonov of Tajikistan.


Current European light-welterweight champion Ray Moylette (64kg), who was seeded number four for the draw, will begin his bid against Latvian Arturs Ahmetous, while Kilkenny middleweight Darren O'Neill (75kg), seeded eighth, renews acquaintances with Glodi Eneste of Norway -- an opponent he beat 13-2 in the 2009 EU final in Denmark -- in his opening bout.

Michael Conlon (52kg) will be the first Irishman into the ring -- he takes on Alexandr Riscan (Moldova) tomorrow -- while Roy Sheehan (69kg) will face Carl Hield (Bahamas) on Thursday.

"The uncertainty is gone now that the draw has been made and we're looking forward to the challenges ahead," said Irish head coach Billy Walsh. "A draw is a draw but you look at it and you have to think about what comes out at the other end. There are always going to be good and bad results but I firmly believe that we have the potential to deliver.

"Seven out of our 10 boxers were seeded in the top eight, which is very good, and some very good lads were not seeded.

"I'm reasonably happy with the draw, but it is tough and it will get even tougher as the tournament progresses. Kenny is a wily character. He's in very good form and, if I was an up-and-coming young Cuban, I wouldn't fancy meeting an Olympic silver medalist in my opening bout. We'll have a look at him and come up with a plan if needs be.

"Michael sparred with the Moldovan lad at our training camp in Cologne and he's more that capable of winning if he brings his number one game into the ring."

Boxers reaching the quarter-finals in the eight weight categories from light-fly to light-heavy will qualify for the Olympics. Heavyweights and super-heavyweights must reach the last-four to guarantee qualification.

Boxers losing out at the last-16 stage from light-fly to light-heavy and two of the boxers losing in the last-eight at heavy and super-heavy will also qualify, provided they were beaten by the eventual finalists.

2011 AIBA World Men's Championships Baku, Azerbaijan

Tomorrow, 52kg: (last 64) Michael Conlon (St John Bosco) v Alexandr Riscan (Moldova); Thursday, 69kg: (last 64) Roy Sheehan (St Michael's Athy) v Carl Hield (Bahamas) Friday, 64kg: (last 64) Ray Moylette (St Anne's) v Arturs Ahmetous (Latvia) October 1, 60kg: (last 64) David Oliver Joyce (St Michael's Athy) v Mohammad Momevad (Iran) 75kg: (last 64) Darren O'Neill (Paulstown) v Glodi Eneste (Norway) October 2, 81kg: (last 32) Joe Ward (Moate) v Dmitrov Stoimen (Bulgaria) or Abdurakhmonov Dilovasnoi (Tajikistan) 91+kg: (last 32) Con Sheehan (Clonmel) v Faruth Kalonov (Tajikstan) October 3, 49kg: (last 32) Paddy Barnes (Holy Family) v Mark Barriga (Philippines) or Stefan Caslarov (Romania) 56kg: (last 32) John Joe Nevin (Cavan) v Filip Barak (Slovakia) or Akhil Kumar (India) 91kg: (last 32) Ken Egan ( Neilstown) v Jose Larduet (Cuba) or Lubas Velecky (Czech Rep).

Irish Independent

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