belfast boy battles brilliantly to win bronze
BY Jonny Stapleton
MICHAEL Conlan proved he has as much fight as the flair he is so renowned for, battling his way to Olympic Bronze in a nail biting close encounter of the boxing kind in the ExCel Arena tonight.
The Belfast fighter made it a hat trick of Olympic medals for Ireland thanks to his hat trick win over Nordine Oubaali in a clash that tested Irish fight fans nerves.
Conlan, 20, entered the last stanza level at 12-12. However, the Belfast Boy proved he is all man in the ring, showing maturity beyond his years and significant nerve to ensure his Olympic fairly tale has both a happy ending and another chapter yet to be written.
Conlan produced when it mattered most performing in the championship round impressing with his outstanding talent, bravery and self determination.
Conlan had defeated Oubaali twice previous but his 26 year old former foe is one of the more experienced amateur’s in the division and won Bronze in Beijing.
However Conlan looked more seasoned and certainly fitter in the last round- he merged guts and guile to create a winning formula, claiming the round 10-6 and having his hand raised after the 22-18 scoreline was read out.
The younger brother for pro boxer Jamie Conlan now joins John Joe Nevin and Katie Taylor as a London 2012 medallist.
Conlan also remains on course of to become lord of the Olympic flies and fights Cuban Rameries in the semi final later this week.
Olé Olé rang around the ExCel arena in the opening round, but the French fighter must have misconstrued it as ález ález and bombed on accordingly.
Conlan’s was boxing from a southpaw stance and continually rolled but rarely rocked his foe with the hooks the corner were shouting for.
The two time Irish champ did produce the better and classier work but the talented Oubaali’s work rate and aggression made sure it was all square at 5-5 going into the first break.
The French talent was on Conlan like a rash for the majority of the second round, but the man of Belfast and inner city Dublin heritage -both boxing strong holds- found ointment in the form of movement and classy punching.
Despite some slick work from Conlan, Oubaali went to his corner deservedly level at the end of the second, 10 a piece.
All square going into the last round, with a bronze medal on the line most fans would prefer to have the Olympic medallist representing their country.
Oubaali had been there, done that and a had a T-Shirt made in China, but it was Conlan who excelled in the last round of the ExCel hosted tournament.
The younger and least experienced of the pair fought for his Olympic life and dug out a historic and brilliant victory much to the delight of the Nation.