Saturday 26 May 2018

David Oliver Joyce bows out of the Olympics but goes down swinging

Sean McGoldrick in Rio de Janeiro

The palpable sense of gloom surrounding the Irish boxing squad in Rio deepened tonight as lightweight David Oliver Joyce exited the Games.

While Joyce's loss in the 60kg lightweight category against the current world silver medallist and number two seed Albert Selimov wasn't unexpected it does represent another blow to the beleaguered Irish camp still reeling from the fall-out after Michael O'Reilly's failed dope test and Paddy Barnes' first round exit.

Joyce's cause wasn't helped when he sustained a cut close to his right eye after a clash of heads with Selimov at the end of the first round and the wily veteran focused on the wound with a series of shots at the beginning of the second round.

Near the end of the third round the doctor was called to examine the bloodied cut but while he allowed the fight to continue by then the Irishman's cause was doomed.

He lost the first round 10-9 on all three judges' cards; one judge gave him the nod in the second and he had the consolation of winning the third on two cards after a storming finish. But it didn't impact on the final result as Selimov, who has never won an Olympic medal, moved into the quarter finals with a 29-28 verdict across the board.

“We knew at the end of the day it was going to be an uphill battle against him. I gave everything I could in there. At least I can say that. I tried everything I could but the better man came out on the day.

“He was one of the trickiest guys I ever boxed. He has been around since 2007 and been in a lot of competitions. I found it difficult to get my shots off I wanted."

“I got a bit anxious with the cut eye in the first round. I didn't know what way it could go. It was a clash of heads inside. A couple of times he came in again, but that was the referee's job," said Joyce, who said his corner thought the fight was level going into the third round.

As it transpired Joyce would have needed a knockout to get the verdict but it wasn't to be and he revealed afterwards that he will now take a holiday with his family before deciding about his future in the ring.

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