MEDAL ALERT: Kieran Molloy guarantees EU Championships BRONZE for Ireland


Galway welterweight Kieran Molloy has guaranteed Ireland their first medal of the European Union Championships in Valladolid this afternoon

The Oughterard southpaw defeated 2014 Youth Olympic gold medallist Vincenzo Arecchia of Italy in the 69kg quarter-finals in Spain to book a place in the Last Four on Saturday and ensure that he will return home from his first major senior international tournament with, at least, a bronze medal.

Facing a speedy opponent that won European U22 bronze earlier this year, Molloy would overpower Arecchia, forcing two counts and almost stopping the Italian in the third round, to take a well-deserved win – although this was not reflected in the scorecards which were split 3-1-1.

It was cagey to start, with Arecchia the busier but the cleaner single shots coming from Molloy.

The flashy Italian got into a groove at the start of the second, popping off quick combinations and countering well but Molloy would force the momentum to swing. Getting stronger as the round went on, the Connacht teen would hurt Arecchia with a succession of straight left hands and force a count.

Hurt, Arrechia was tentative going into the third and Molloy forced the action, bullying his older opponent and eventually bringing another count. Going for the finish, Molloy had Arrechia staggering but the Italian survived.

Going to the cards it was a surprising 3-1-1 split, with the Romanian judge ruling 29-28 in Arrechia’s favour and the Moldovan official deeming it a draw against a pair of 29-28s and a 30-27 for Molloy.

It will matter little to the reigning Elite champion who will now box English star Pat McCormack – a double European silver medallist and a Commonwealth Games gold medallist where he defeated Aidan Walsh in the final – in the semis on Saturday.

There was no luck, however for Westmeath light welter Wayne Kelly who was eliminated following a close quarter0final.

Dmitry Galogot, from the non-EU country of Moldova, was the villain for Irish boxing at the EU Championships once again.

The Moldovan had denied Dean Walsh a bronze medal at the last EUs, beating the Wexford fighter at the same stage, and would again prevent Irish silverware with another Last Eight win here.

Galagot took a unanimous decision following a very close contest.

An extremely cagey start in the battle of the southpaws was punctuated when Kelly staggered Galagot with a right hook.

The Moldovan upped his work rate in the second but Kelly continued to land thudding right hands.

Galagot then retreated to the backfoot in the final round, picking his shots well as Kelly continued to come forward.

Going to the cards, the result was unsure but Galagot was declared a unanimous decision winner, much to Kelly’s displeasure.

The scorecards themselves raised eyebrows, with two 29-28s, two 30-27s, and one frankly ridiculous 30-25 from the Spanish judge.

Galagot will go on to face European silver and Commonwealth bronze medallist Luke McCormack – who narrowly defeated Ireland’s Sean McComb en-route to both medals.

Dublin heavyweight Kirill Afanasev is Ireland’s only boxer in action tomorrow. The Smithfield Russian fights Croat Tony Filipi, silver medallist at European Under-22s last year, for a guaranteed bronze.

Michael Nevin and Kurt Walker are in action on Thursday against English and Polish opposition respectively.

EU Elite Championships Valladolid, Spain
November 9th
Prelims (last 16)
52kg Conor Quinn (Ireland) lost to Rosenov Banbakov (Bulgaria) 1-4
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) beat Stefan Ivanov (Bulgaria) 5-0
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Frazer Clarke (England) 1-4

November 10th
Prelims (last 16)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) beat Ruben Veciunoa (Belgium) 5-0
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Ireland) beat David Michalek (Slovakia) 4-1

November 11th
Prelims (last 16)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) beat Petr Novak (Czech Republic) 5-0

November 12th
Prelims (last 16)
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) beat Stephan Nikitin (Germany) 5-0

November 13th
Q/Finals
64kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) lost to Dmitry Galogot (Moldova) 0-5
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) beat Vincenzo Arecchiai (Italy) 3-2

November 14th
Q/Finals
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Ireland) v Toni Filipi (Croatia)

November 15th
Q/Finals
56kg Kurt Walker (Ireland) v Jaroslav Iwanow (Poland)
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Carl Fail (England)

November 17th
S/Finals
69kg Kieran Molloy (Ireland) v Pat McCormack (England)

Irish squad
52kg Conor Quinn (Clonard BC)
56kg Kurt Walker (Canal BC)
64kg Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise BC)
69kg Kieran Molloy (Oughterard BC)
75kg Michael Nevin (Portlaoise BC)
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield BC)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel BC)

Team Manager: Stephen Molloy
Coaches: John Conlan & Eoin Pluck
Physiotherapist: Seamus Caffrey
Team Doctor: Jim Clover- Team Doctor
Sports Physiologist: Damian Martin
Referee & Judge: Jim Murrin

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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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