Kirill Afanasev produced the performance of the day to progress along the road to Tokyo.
The Smithfield heavyweight drew Georgians’ light heavyweight best, Begadze Nikoloz in the first round, but managed to better his counterpart to move within two wins of Olympic qualification.
The Dubliner’s opponent had quality and asked questions, but Afanasev had answers and came out victorious after three entertaining rounds.
Afanasev showed guts when required and guile when that was the quality most needed and is now just two wins away from a place in the 2020 Olympics.
A high paced first round was hard to score. Nikoloz seemed to establish his southpaw jab first, but Afanasev was forcing the pace.
Afanasev looked to bang the straight right to the chest and body of his opponent in the second. It looked to have reaped dividend, but the Georgian was still capable of flashes of class and could have landed enough eye catching shots to make the round close again.
Both fighters tired in the third, understandably so considering the pace of the fight, but Afanasev still looked to have the power to do damage.
He did hurt Nikoloz with two big right hands, but much to his credit the Georgian was able to enjoy success when he regrouped.
One of four Irish fighters in action on Sunday did finish the stronger and some check left hooks and well timed right hands won him the round.
It’s Romanian Cristian Filip next for Afanasev. Win on Tuesday and he would have to overturn a 4-1 split loss to Bulgarian Radoslav Pantaleev from last year’s Worlds to ensure an Olympic place.