Michael Nevin gets Ireland off to perfect start at World Championships

Michael Nevin got Ireland off to a winning start at the 2019 World Men’s Elite Championships in Ekaterinburg today.

The Portlaoise middleweight was the first Irish boxer in action in Russia and claimed a hard-fought unanimous decision Last 64 win over Anrdrei Vreme of Moldova.

With Irish champion Gabriel Dossen sidelined due to surgery on the knee injury which kept him out of the European Games in June, it was Nevin again afforded the chance to gain major international experience having won bronze in Minsk.

The former underage medal machine was made to work here but banked enough early and was able to survive a spirited final charge from his opponent to progress to the Round 32

Vreme was defeated earlier this year by another Irish boxer – Dossen at the European Under-22 Championships – and it was the same again this morning in the Urals following an entertaining fight.

Nevin, possessing a size advantage, began on the outside, rattling off combinations on the onrushing Moldovan. Vreme did manage to get through with some clubbing shots but the better work was coming from the Irishman.

His timing improving throughout, Nevin’s counters were a joy in the second but Vreme looked threathening with his wild looping overhands. Targeting the body, Nevin attempted to slow down the Eastern European handful as we entered into the final round.

The closest stanza of the fight, Vreme poured it on in the third and did land a lot of leather on Nevin. The 20-year-old, however, showed grit to make it through as well as popping off some smart shots to disrupt his opponent’s flow.

The final scores all were in favour of Nevin, with a trio of 29-28s and two 30-27s.

Through to the Round of 32, Nevin will now face Lithuanian Vytautas Balsys – an opponent he defeated in the quarter-finals of the 2016 World Youths – on Saturday morning.

The Last 64 continues tomorrow with two more Irish boxers in action, Kane Tucker and Kirill Afanasev. Banbridge light heavy Tucker makes his major tournament debut, stepping into Joe Ward’s shoes, and has a hard fight versus Kyrgyz Olympian Erkin Adylbek Uulu. Dublin heavy Afanasev then takes on Aussie newcomer

2019 World Elite Men’s Championships Ekaterinburg, Russia

September 9
Last 64
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) beat Anderi Vreme (Moldova) 5-0

September 10
Last 64
81kg Kane Tucker (Ireland) v Erkin Adylbek (Kyrgyzstan)
91kg Kirill Afanasev (Ireland) v Austin Aokuso (Australia)

September 12
Last 64
52kg Regan Buckley (Ireland) v Aldoms Suquor (Indonesia)
63kg Wayne Kelly (Ireland) v Matthew Alexander (Trinidad & Tobago)

September 13
Last 64
69kg Aidan Walsh (Ireland) v Miroslav Kapuler (Israel)

September 14
Round of 32
75kg Michael Nevin (Ireland) v Vytautas Balsys (Lithuania)

September 15
Round of 32
57kg Kurt Walker v Samuel Kostohurry (France) or David Avila (Columbia)

Irish squad
52kg: Regan Buckley (St Teresa’s)
57kg: Kurt Walker (Canal)
63kg: Wayne Kelly (Portlaoise)
69kg: Aidan Walsh (Monkstown A)
75kg: Michael Nevin (Portlaoise)
81kg: Kane Tucker (Emerald)
91kg: Kirill Afanasev (Smithfield)
+91kg: No Entry
Head coach: Zaur Antia
Coaches: John Conlan and Eoin Pluck
High-Performance Director: Bernard Dunne

Teen star Kane Tucker has been given the nod to step in and replace the pro-bound Joe Ward and the Banbridge youngster’s first senior major tournament fight will come versus Kyrgyz Erkin Adylbek Uulu. A star in the Central Asian nation, Adylbek carried the flag for Kyrgyzstan at the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics – being eliminated in the first round – and won bronze in this year’s Asian Championships.

Finally, Dubliner Kirill Afanasev will get underway against inexprerienced Aussie Austin Aokuso.


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