There was to be no big European success for Ireland’s little men in Armenia today.
Mari lost to England’s representative Kiaran MacDonald, while Nesbitt suffered defeat at the gloves of Bulgaria’s Ergyunal Sebahtin.
Ireland still have three more chances to pick up a medal as JP Hale, Gabriel Dossen, and Dylan Eagleson all face quarterfinal bouts on a frantic Friday.
A fient filled Nesbitt looked to get busy early on but his opponent looked effective off the back foot and landed some backhands clean. However, the Irish figther wasn’t long about getting his eye in and began to find the target with more regularity as the stanza progressed.
One right hand in particular relieved Sebahtin of his gum shield and the right hand left hook combo worked well. However, only one judge fancied Nesbitt’s work over the Bulgarian and the University Games medal winner went into the second 4-1 down.
Nesbitt increased the tempo somewhat in the next round but his opponent was accurate under pressure and loaded up early on in a bid to halt the Holy Family Drogheda’s march forward. Nesbitt did show more patience in the second half of the round and showed skills of his own but ultimately went into the final round down on three of the five scorecards.
The 26-year-old Irish fighter tried to outbox the solid and explosive Bulgarian in the third and had success with real flashes of quality but lost to the blue corner fighter and exits the tournament.
Mari’s medal bid also fell short at the quarter final stage as he was beaten by England’s talented prospect.
The 22-year-old defeated fellow European U-22 medal winner and the #3 seed Omer Ametovic of Serbia to secure a shot at a medal but Kiaran MacDonald, who won silver at the most recent Euro under-22’s, proved a step too far.
Mari pushed him for three rounds and wasn’t lacking in effort or spirit but the English fighter had that little bit more by way of quality on the day.
It was an obvious clash of styles from the start. Mari held a tight guard made himself small and marched forward while MacDonald looked to hit and move.
The Dub caught and threw effectively but the Sunderland native also enjoyed success and worked the body well creating a ‘what you like’ kind of scenario for the judges.
🚨 Men's European Championship result 🚨— IABA (@IABABOXING) May 27, 2022
Valiant effort by #TeamIreland 51kg Sean Mari in his quarter final against Kiaran MacDonald of England. Sean leaves the tournament follow a 4-1 split decision in favour of the boxer in blue. pic.twitter.com/szgdprRYaV
It seemed only one judge favoured Mari’s approach with the English man taking a 4-1 lead into the second, although at that stage it appeared the pace set looked like it may benefit the Monkstown man down later on in the fight.
Mari maintained the same approach in the second but just added volume and looked to throw first. It seemed to pay dividend early on but once Mackem MacDonald got up on his toes he began to frustrate the Irish operator. The round was scored across the board to the Brit.
The soldier emptied the tank in the last round but the damage had already been done and his defeat was being confirmed as Ricky Nesbitt made his way to the ring.
Three more Irish fighters compete for medals today.
Lightweight JP Hale meets Georgia’s Artyush Gomtsayan hoping to medal in his first European tournament.
Three bouts later, middleweight Gabriel Dossen boxes for the third time in this tournament. The Galway fighter fights Norway’s Mindaugas Gedminas for a medal.
Bantamweight, Dylan Eagleson, is the only Irish boxer in action in Friday’s evening session. The St Pauls club man boxes his quarter final against Spain’s Gabriel Masunano Escobar in bout 4 of Ring A’s evening session.
48kg Ricky Nesbitt, Holy Family, Drogheda
51kg Sean Mari, Monkstown BC, Dublin
54kg Dylan Eagleson, St. Paul’s, Belfast
57kg Adam Hession, Monivea BC, Galway
60kg JP Hale, Star ABC, Belfast.
63.5kg Brandon McCarthy, St. Michael’s, Athy.
67kg Eugene McKeever, Holy Family, Drogheda
71kg Luke Maguire, Esker BC, Dublin
75kg Gabriel Dossen, Olympic, Galway.
92kg Jack Marley, Monkstown BC, Dublin