Steven Donnelly was edged out in Poland tonight in his first loss of the World Series of Boxing (WSB) 2015 season for the Hussars of Poland.
The 2014 Irish Elite champion, who had won all of his five outings this year before tonight, dropped a split decision to Venezuela’s Jose Maestre-Perez in Pruszków.
Maestre-Perez, working well from body to head, took the first two rounds – one across the board, the second on a split – but Donnelly, who switched briefly to southpaw, edged the third and appeared to have the momentum on his side after dominating the fourth to leave it more or less all square going into the fifth and final frame.
But Maestre-Perez started well – although Donnelly, All Saints BC, finished on the front foot – and did enough to take that stanza 10-9 across the board to secure victory from a see-saw 69kg clash.
“It was level going into the last round. It was a very tough and close fight,” said Irish coach Eddie Bolger, who was working Donnelly’s corner tonight.
Venezuela won tonight’s meeting 4-1. The results means that Italia Thunder must win versus Group B table-toppers Astana Arlans of Kazakhstan in Italy tomorrow evening to qualify for the play-offs.
London 2012 Olympian Adam Nolan, the current Irish Elite champion (Bray BC), will be in action for Thunder tomorrow evening versus Kazakh welter Aslanbek Shymbergenov. Irish head coach Billy Walsh will be in his corner.
*Morocco’s Muhammad Rabii and Russia’s Radzhab – regardless of tonight’s result – finished in the top two positions in the WSB Individual rankings tables to claim the two Rio 2016 quota places.*