Irish southpaws Adam Nolan and Joe Ward advanced to the quarter-finals of the European Elite Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria today.
London 2012 Nolan produced a massive performance to shock Russia’s No. 1 seed Radzhab Butaev in the welter class and Ward dominated Georgian light-heavy Nikoloz Selchniashvili, who received two public warnings in the second round for hitting with the inside of his glove and using his elbow.
Butaev, who earned a quota place at Rio 2016 through the World Series of Boxing (WSB) this year, was favourite to progress against Nolan, also a WSB boxer with Italia Thunder last season.
But Katie Taylor’s team-mate at the Bray BC turned in probably the best performance of his career to post a 29-28,29-28.29-28 decision against his vaunted opponent.
Ward, who won European Elite gold in 2011, was rarely troubled by anything Selchniashvili did legally en route to a 30-25,30-24,30-25 landslide against an opponent he beat in a multi-nation Junior final in Baku, Azerbaijan in 2009.
Nolan and Ward, who is signed with AIBA Pro Boxing, now join London 2012 bronze medallist Michael Conlan and Dean Walsh in Wednesday’s quarter-finals.
If any of the Irish quartet win tomorrow, they will guaranteed at least bronze and secure outright qualification for October’s World Elite Championships in Qatar which is an Olympic qualifier.
“It will be a big day for the boys tomorrow. Adam and Joe were top class today, top class and we have four going for the medals,” said Irish team manager Peter O’Donnell.
European Elite Championships 2015
Preliminaries (last 32)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Tadas Tamasauskos (Lithuania) 2-1
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Ireland) beat Delalic Abdulnaser (Bosnia & Herzegovina) 3-0
August 8th (last 32)
69kg Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Onder Sipal (Turkey) 2-0
August 9th (last 32)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) beat Idris Shakhmonov (Russia) 3-0
91+kg Dean Gardiner (Ireland) lost to Filip Hrgovic (Croatia) 0-3
August 10th (last 16)
56kg Michael Conlan (Ireland) beat Anthony Brett (France) 3-0
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) beat Florentin Niculescu (Romania) 3-0
91kg Darren O’Neill (Ireland) lost to Evegeny Tischenko (Russia) 0-3
August 11th (last 16)
69kg Adam Nolan (Ireland) beat Radzhab Butaev (Russia) 3-0
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland beat Nikoloz Selchniashvili (Georgia) 3-0
August 12th (Q/Final)
56kg Michael Conlan (Ireland) v Frederik Jensen (Denmark)
64kg Dean Walsh (Ireland) v Nyeki Georgian (Hungary)
69kg Adam Nolan (Ireland) v Pavel Kastramin (Belarus)
81kg Joe Ward (Ireland) v Mikhail Dauhaliavets (Belarus)
52kg Myles Casey (St Francis)
56kg Michael Conlan (Clonard ABC)
64kg Dean Walsh (St Joesphs/St Ibars)
69kg Adam Nolan (Bray)
81kg Joe Ward (AIBA Pro Boxing)
91kg Darren O’Neill (Paulstown)
91kg+ Dean Gardiner (Clonmel)
Team Manager: Peter O’Donnell
Coaches: Billy Walsh, Zauri Antia and Eddie Bolger
Physiotherapist: Julianne Ryan
Sports Psychologist: Gerry Hussey
Performance Analyst: Alan Swanton
Cuts Man: Dr John Haughey