Irvine guarantees first Irish medal at European Games

Brendan Irvine produced the performance of his young life in Baku today to defeat home favourite, Salman Alizade, and guarantee himself at least a bronze medal in his debut major international tournament.

At the end of his quarter final he was given the nod over the Azeri on two cards to win a fantastic split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29).

The Belfast man became the first Irish boxer (indeed the first Irish sportsperson) to guarantee themselves a medal at the inaugural Games. ‘Wee Rooster’ also became the first man to defeat the imperious Azerbaijanis at the tournament.

Irvine lost a close first round on all three cards but seemed to have his opponent figured out by the second. Indeed the second stanza was pure poetry from the St. Paul’s ABC fighter – and the fact that one judge scored the round against him is a mind-boggling.

The third round followed a similar pattern and Alizade had no answer to the 19 year old Irvine who beat him to the punch every time and countered him with venom whenever he tried to attack.

Irvine will now face Dmytro Zamotayev of the Ukraine in the semi finals on Wednesday at 15:00 Irish time.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: