Out but not down -Brendan Irvine content knowing he gave it his all

It was a case of out but not too down for Brendan Irvine, as he bowed out of the Olympics content he gave his all.

The Irish Team captain exited the flyweight division competition at the gloves of all-action Filipino Carlo Paalam in the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo early on Monday morning.

It was the second time the St Pauls star suffered defeat in his first fight at a Games, having been beaten by the eventual champion in Rio.

The 25-year-old fly was obviously disappointed but took the defeat on the chin, admitting ‘the better man won’ and taking solace in the fact he battled to the death.

Speaking to RTE after a competitive and entertaining fight Irvine said: “What can I do, it’s boxing.”

“This stuff happens every day. The better man won on the day. I did think it was a close fight and I probably could have got it myself but that’s just the way it goes. It’s been a roller-coaster getting here but I’m proud to have left everything in the ring and give it my all.

“There’s physically nothing I could have done more, so I’ll try and pick myself up and support the rest of the team now.

“I did study him coming into it. I knew he was going to be very explosive and jumping off from the start but I am a slow starter. I did think I won the last two rounds. That’s boxing.”

Like a few on the Irish Olympic boxing team Irvine did have issues to overcome even to make it to Tokyo. The Belfast fighter had a long period out through injury and feared for his Olympic hopes.

“Two or three years ago I didn’t think I’d be standing here, to be honest with you,” the Ireland flag-bearer added.

“I had a nightmare two years with injuries, trying to get back to fitness and full health and to qualify. Nobody expected me to qualify.

“I was bumping into people in the street and they were saying to me, ‘I thought you gave up boxing’. They just didn’t know the nightmare I had faced.

“I’m proud to be representing my country but I am obviously devastated.

“My family are very very proud of me, well I hope so anyway but yeah, I’m just devastated.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com