Magnificent GOLD for Michael O’Reilly in Baku

After an absolutely stunning performance in the men’s middleweight final at the European Games, Michael O’Reilly has won Ireland’s second gold medal of the multi-sport event. The Portlaioise BC man put in the performance of his life to take a unanimous decision win over Azerbaijani home favourite, Xayubula Musalov (29-28 x3).

From the very first bell one could see that the fight would be an awesome clash of styles. Musalov, who has experience on the WSB circuit, had a decidely pro style and walked down O’Reilly who scored some lovely counters.

O’Reilly took the close first on all three cards but was drawn into more of a fight in the second. O’Reilly gave as good as he got with both boxers landing big shots. Another tight round, Musalov perhaps shaded it with his heavier inside work and levelled the scorecards.

Going into the last, O’Reilly had the advantage of receiving a walkover in his semi final, but he still needed to dig deeper than he ever has before as Musalov came pouring forward.

The 22 year old Irishman though has proven himself to be world class talent at these games and showed grit, skill, endurance, and power in the last round to deservedly win the round, and the fight unanimously.

Through the European Games, O’Reilly has now qualified for the World Championships in Qatar this October, and he will be confident of beating any middleweight in the world there. Going by his performances in Baku, he is one of the best boxers on the planet at the weight and he will be hotly tipped to medal in Doha.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie