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European champion knocks McGivern out of the European Games

James McGivern bowed out of the European Games in Minsk this afternoon.

The 21-year-old was hoping to join the likes of Regan Buckley, Grainne Walsh, Kurt Walker, Kellie Harrington and Micheala Walsh in the quarter finals of the Olympic styled continental contest, but was defeated in his last 16 bout.

The St George’s fighter, who had targeted a medal, was handed the toughest of last 16 clashes as he was drawn against reigning European champion and world bronze-medallist Hovhannes Bachkov. 

The Armenian showed his class, won every round and progressed in the light welterweight class at the Commonwealth bronze-medallist expense.

Bachkov earned an unanimous points win- winning by a 30-27, 30-26, 30-27, 30-27, 30-25 scoreline.

Speaking after the bout McGivern, who cruised past Slovakia’s Michal Takacs in the round of 32 the Belfast fighter remained upbeat. 

“He was just relentless. It was hard to get my game plan off. We worked on staying in close, but he is European champion and this is my first Elite tournament. 

“It’s a learning experience. We’ll take it on the chin and go back and learn. The coaches will look at it and I am sure they will see what went wrong- I’ll get it next time.”

The first (fight) was brilliant. Even (this fight) I was doing things I don’t normally do. I don’t usually fight in close, but I was doing it there because I was forced to, which I take the positives from. I have that capability now. At least we go way now back to the gym work on making things perfect and then no one is going to beat me.”

Three more Irish fighters will be in action today.

Regan Buckley of St Teresa’s BC returns with a light-flyweight quarter-final contest against Spain’s World Series of Boxing competitor Martin Molina (5pm Irish).

European U22 Championships silver-medallist Aoife O’Rourke from Castlerea faces home Belarussian Viktoriya Kebikava in the last-16 of the women’s middleweight, while Michael Nevin takes on Turkey’s Serhat Güler, another WSB veteran.


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com