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Battling JP Hale Defeated by Georgian Buzzsaw in Medal Fight

JP Hale’s European Championships medal bid was halted by a buzzsaw Georgian in Armenia today.

Hale managed to scalp the #3 seed in his senior European debut, winning a closely contested battle with Finland’s Arslan Khataev in the opening round but despite putting up a fight against Artyush Gomtsayan in the quarters couldn’t find passage onto the podium.

It was the ultimate lose and learn fight. Possibly similar to his Irish Boxing Awards Fight of the Year winner against Colm Murphy but the Georgian was more seasoned and that bit stronger than now exciting pro talent Murphy was a few years ago.

There wasn’t much by way of talent between the two but Gomtsayan’s relentless aggressive style and power punching approach saw him secure deserved victory.

The experience will certainly stand to Hale and it’s a style and pace he will benefit from coming up against going into the Commonwealth Games this summer.

The Irish coaches will take solace in the fact Hale had the stomach for the fight but will try get him to use his feet and skills more if faced with a similar opponent in the future.

The third Irish boxer in action on a frantic Friday instantly found himself under pressure from the squat Georgian who looked to push him back to the ropes from the off. However, he looked comfortable behind a tight guard and appeared to be landing the cleaner shots of the two. Any time there was distance between the two the Belfast fighter really looked in control making his foe miss, landing a solid jab and working the body well.

However, in the final minute of the round he held his feet a bit too much and allowed his opponent to land big and steal the round 4-1

Again Hale had real success on the jab during the second but was forced to stand and fight against a relentless punch-packing opponent. The Star fighter held his own when trading but did ship the bigger shots, and the fact he was often the one being backed up prompted the judges to score the second in Khataev’s favour.

The 21-year-old, who has been selected for the Commonwealth Games squad, again showed flashes of quality in an extremely entertaining third, finally bringing the uppercut into play and whipping well to the body. Howerver he wasn’t able to dramatically slow the well-supported aggressive Georgia, although he was enjoying the battle. He also did enough to ensure he one judge deemed him the winner.

Middleweight Gabriel Dossen is next in the ring and boxes for the third time in this tournament. The Galway fighter fights Norway’s Mindaugas Gedminas for a medal.

Bantamweight, Dylan Eagleson, is the only Irish boxer in action in Friday’s evening session. The St Pauls club man boxes his quarterfinal against Spain’s Gabriel Masunano Escobar in bout 4 of Ring A’s evening session.

Team Ireland:

48kg Ricky Nesbitt, Holy Family, Drogheda

51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin

54kg Dylan Eagleson, St. Paul’s, Belfast

57kg Adam Hession, Monivea BC, Galway

60kg JP Hale, Star ABC, Belfast.

63.5kg Brandon McCarthy, St. Michael’s, Athy.

67kg Eugene McKeever, Holy Family, Drogheda

71kg Luke Maguire, Esker BC, Dublin

75kg Gabriel Dossen, Olympic, Galway.

92kg Jack Marley, Monkstown BC, Dublin

Zauri Antia

Dmitri Dmitruk

Damian Kennedy

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: