By IABA Press Officer Bernard O’Neill
Ireland is guaranteed at least three bronze medals from the 2014 European Union Elite Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Darren O’Neill and David Oliver Joyce, both gold medallists at the last European Union Elite Championships in Denmark in 2009, and Hughie Myers won their quarter-finals today.
But John Joe Joyce was unlucky to bow out on a split decision.
O’Neill produced an excellent performance to see off Niklos Sekhniashvili in the light-heavy class on a unanimous decision (30-26,29-27,30-26). The Georgian received a public warning for using his elbow in the second round and might have received a second caution for hitting below the belt in the third.
O’Neill’s counter-punching skills earned today’s win. The Kilkenny southpaw repeatedly found the target with solid backhands in the second and third frames and held his composure in the face of rough tactics.
The London 2012 Olympian was also on top in the first, but got caught off balance with a right hook and took a standing count a few seconds from the bell.
Myers edged out English 2012 AIBA World Youth champion Oliver Simpson in the 49kg class. Simpson, mostly boxing off the back foot, probably took the first, but Myers’ relentless pursuit began to pay off in the second and third frames, the Ryston BC light-fly finding the target with solid hooks.
It was a close one against Simpson, who got the rub of the green (14-12) from the judges against Ireland’s Kurt Walker in the semi-finals of the AIBA World Youth Championships in Armenia in 2012. Finals scores 29-28,27-30,29-28.
David Oliver Joyce booked his ticket into his third successive European Union final – he won gold at this level in 2009 and 2008 – on a unanimous decision over Dawid Michelus, Joyce’s second win over the Pole.
Michelus hit the floor in the opening exchanges on this encounter, but it was ruled a slip, although Joyce’s right hook probably helped him on his journey to the canvas.
It was a convincing win for the St Michael’s Athy lightweight, who landed some big shots off both hands in the third and final frames. Michelus cheekily raised his hand in victory before the result was announced, but the finals score to Joyce – 30-27,30-27,30-27 – spoke for itself as the Irish Elite champion moved to within two wins of a European Union gold medal hat-trick.
John Joe Joyce also impressed today. His bout with Bulgarian welter Simeon Chamov finished level – 29-27,27-29,28-28 – but when it went back to the judges they split in favour of the home boxer.
John Joe Joyce
John Joe Joyce
Joyce’s left jab consistently punished Chamov in the first round, and he winged home some big rights in the second, a frame in which Chamov, who worked well on the inside, received a public warning for the use of his head.
Whether that opened the cut over Joyce’s right eye is unclear. Joyce received attention from the ringside doctor for the wound in the third and appeared to be on course for victory after being given the all clear.
But the last two minutes developed into an all out slug-fest and Chamov got the nod went it went back to the judges.
Dean Walsh, Michael O’Reilly and Dean Gardiner will be in action tomorrow. Click here for Wednesday’s program.
Irish R&J Sadie Duffy was between the ropes today. Duffy was the third person in the ring for the Slovakia versus Turkey 60kg clash.
European Union Championships Sofia, Bulgaria
(Last 16 bouts unless stated, Irish times apply)
56kg Gary McKenna (Ireland) lost to Veaceslav Gojan (Moldova) 0-3
69kg John Joe Joyce (Ireland) beat Damian Kiwior (Poland) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) beat Malik Ladjali (France) 2-1
81kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Jordan Kulinski (Poland) 3-0
August 10th (1pm)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) beat Mahmoud Khattab (Denmark) TKO2
91kg Gary Sweeney (Ireland) lost to Tadas Tamasavkas (Lithuania) 0-3
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) beat Henrich Bagan (Slovakia) 3-0
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) beat Kristiyan Stefanov (Bulgaria) 3-0
August 12th (Q/Final)
49kg Hughie Myers (Ireland) beat Oliver Simpson (England) 2-1
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) beat Dawid Michelus (Poland) 3-0
69kg John Joe Joyce (Ireland) lost to Simeon Chamov (Bulgaria) 1-2
81kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Niklos Sekhniashvili (Georgia) 3-0
August 13th (Q/Final)
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) v Dmitri Galagot (Moldova)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Ireland) v Gocha Badurashvili (Georgia)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Ireland) v Guido Vianella (Italy)
August 15th (S/Finals)
49kg Hughie Myers (Ireland) v Stefan Mezei (Slovakia)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) v Edgaras Skuddelis (Lithuania)
81kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) v Mamadou Diabira (France)
49kg Hughie Myers (Ryston) (Bronze, at least)
56kg Gary McKenna (Old School)
60kg David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) (Bronze, at least)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Joesphs/St Ibars)
69kg John Joe Joyce (St Michael’s Athy)
75kg Michael O’Reilly (Portlaoise)
81kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) (Bronze, at least)
91kg Gary Sweeney (Olympic)
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team manager: Paddy Osbourne
Coaches: Billy Walsh, Zuar Antia, Eddie Bolger
R&J: Sadie Duffy
Physio: Jullianne Ryan