David Oliver Joyce was adjudged to have lost to Uzbek lightweight Hurshid Tojabaev despite dominating in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Saturday night.
Tojabaev was handed a 77-75 unanimous decision across the board after eight rounds in the main event of the evening on a four-bout AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) card.
The Beijing 2008 Olympian will now meet Russian southpaw Dimitry Polyanskiy for a place at the Rio 2016 Olympics and the APB 60kg final next month.
Tojabaev on the floor in the second round, but the ref ruled it a slip, although a right hook from Joyce appeared to have helped him on his journey to the canvas.
The Uzbek, courtesy of some sporadic body shots, probably did enough to warrant winning the first round 10-9, but Joyce, according to the unofficial scores of www.iaba.ie, won frames two, three, four, five and seven.
Irish coach John Conlan – who pointed out that it was difficult to pick out any highlights for Tojabaev after the end of most of the rounds on the live stream – also estimated that the ex Irish Elite champion won five frames in Tashkent.
Joyce, three-time European Union Elite champion, consistently took the fight to Tojabaev, who was on the back foot for most of the eight stanzas, showed the greater aggression and shot selection throughout and responded emphatically to anything that Tojabaev, a slick counter-puncher, threw at him.
Irish coaches Billy Walsh and Zuar Antia raised their hands in victory when the final bell tolled in Tashkent tonight, but the decision went to the home boxer.
Joyce, who can be very proud of his performance against a top class opponent away from home in such a crucial fight, will now meet Brazil’s Donato Conceicao, who lost to Polanskiy, for a ranking position in his final APB bout of the season next month.