O’Neill agonisingly misses out on medal in Baku

There was massive disappointment at the European Games today for Kilkenny heavyweight Darren O’Neill who lost his quarter final, falling just short of a guaranteed bronze medal.

The Paulstown BC southpaw was on the wrong side of the narrowest of split-decisions to Ukrainian starlet Gevorg Manukian (29-28 x2, and 28-29).

Manukian, the 2011 European Youth silver medalist, was the busier boxer in the first round and took it 10-9 on across the scorecards. These opening three minutes proved to be decisive as O’Neill won the following two rounds but split the judges in such a way that had him losing the bout.

O’Neill certainly had the cleaner work in the final two rounds but the physical, more natural heavyweight, Manukian, had occasional eye-catching success that swayed one judge in each of the second and third rounds.

Therefore, Ireland’s 68 year wait for a medalist in the heavyweight or super heavyweight division in a elite international tournament continues (Olympics, Worlds, Europeans, Euro Games).

However, former middleweight O’Neill will feel that he can end this drought after proving in Baku that he can mix it with the Eastern giants in boxing’s blue riband divisions.

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