Middleweight Michael O’Reilly secured a dramatic second bronze medal for Ireland today at the 18th AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar.
While Mick Conlan was dominant in guaranteeing his bronze an hour previously, O’Reilly had to box out of his skin to secure a split decision win over the reigning World champion, Zhanibek Alimkhanuly of Kazakhstan.
O’Reilly, on the back foot, took the closee crucial opening round on all scorelines.
Alimkhanuly, who won the 2013 Championships by defeating Donegal’s Jason Quigley in the final, would level the scorecards in the second however in another impossibly close three minutes.
The final deciding round was another tight affair, but a salvo by O’Reilly in the last 30 seconds perhaps swayed the judges and two opted to give the round to him and ensure the win and the bronze (at least) for Ireland.
The final scorecards read 29-28 x2 in favour of O’Reilly and 29-28 in favour of Alimkhanuly.
O’Reilly boxes in the semi finals against Bektemir Melikuziev of Uzbekistan, a former World and Olympic Youth champion, tomorrow evening.