Bobbi Flood strutted confidently into the European winner’s circle in Sofia today.
The Cabra fighter ensured his first international medal will be a gold one, as he beat Gabriele Rontani Guidi of Italy in the European Youth (U18) final.
The 17-year-old co Ireland captain made it look easy and eased his way to the top of the podium, producing the kind of performance that should put him in the frame for Fighter of the Tournament.
Flood was calm, composed, and clinical against a fancied Italian. The seven-time Irish champ won the first round across the board and took the second and third wide thanks to the fact he dished out two standing eight counts.
It was a sensational finish to what has been a breakout tournament for the Cabra starlet. Amazingly, it’s a tournament he can enter next year.
The opening minute was, as to be expected, tentative, but Flood appeared the aggressor, pushing his foe back to the ropes and picking shots patiently.
The Italian let fly from the back of the room and landed some wildly midway through the session. However, Flood always responded positively and one crisp one-two and a straight left caught the eye in particular before a round, that he won across the board, finished in the calm manner in which it started.
Guidi tried to put it on the Cabra teen in the second but Flood had the footwork and mentality to cope – and just to make sure he remained in the ascendancy he hurt his final foe with a beautiful one-two, forcing the referee to administer a standing eight count.
Now full of confidence, the 16-year-old cruised through the second half of the round and was so impressive three of the judges scored it 10-8 in his favour.
Guidi made his last stand in the final round and was nearly sat down when doing so. The extremely talented Irish prospect again retained composure under aggressive attack and walked the Italian light-middleweight onto a standing eight inducing shot. With both feet nigh on the top of the podium, Flood was able to put on a show down the stretch, proving too good for Guidi and impressing up and until the final bell.
The result was never in doubt but Flood fell to his knees overcome when it was read out before going to thank his teammates who supported him through the win.
Team Ireland Squad:
48kg: Georgia McGovern, Setanta : Bronze Medallist
48kg: Patsy Joyce, Olympic: Bronze Medallist
50kg: Katie O’Keefe, Kanturk : Bronze Medallist
51kg: Adam McKenna, Holy Family
52kg: Esther Lambe, Setanta
54kg: Shakira Donoghue, Templemore
54kg: Gavin Ryan, Ratoath
57kg: Yasmin Meredith, Corinthians: Team Captain
57kg: John Donoghue, St Michaels Athy
60kg: Jason Nevin, Olympic
63kg: Winnie McDonagh, Neilstown : Bronze Medallist
63.5kg: Tom McDonnell, Docklands
66kg: Gabrielle Mongan, Whitechurch
67kg: Jim Donovan, Our Lady of Lourdes
70kg: Laura Moran, St Annes: Finalist
71kg: Bobbi Flood, Cabra: Team Captain: Gold Medallist
75kg: Emma Keating, Paulstown
75kg: Joshua Olaniyan, Jobstown
80kg: Ryan Murphy, Neilstown
81kg: Dearbhla Tinnelly, Clann Naofa: Gold Medallist
81+kg: Cliona Darcy, Tobar Pheadair: Finalist
86kg: Nathan Ojo, Esker
92kg: David J McDonagh, Olympic
92+kg: Bernie Cawley, St David’s, Naas
R & J: