World Champion Conlan gets Olympic campaign off to winning start

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Michael Conlan got his Olympics off to a solid start this afternoon in Rio, and now stands just nine minutes away from guaranteeing – at least – a second successive bronze medal.

The Belfast bantam, the last remaining male Irish fighter at the Games, took on Armenian Aram Avagyan in the last 16 and coasted to a comprehensive win.

Conlan showed no ill-effects of his opening round bye, starting quick and showing his full range of shots to take the first round against his cagey Eastern European opponent.

A closer second saw Conlan step up the pace in the final minute to win the round on all three cards and put one foot in the last eight..

The was no major final round charge from Avagyan whom had been the victim of some punishing bodywork throughout from the World champion, and it was Conlan himself who landed the biggest shot of the round, a huge right that shook the Armenian to his boots.

The result in no doubt, the 24 year old Clonard boxer took the bout on all three cards (30-27 x2, 29-28).

Conlan now faces a quarter final medal clash on Tuesday night at 21:45 (Irish time). Here he will aim for revenge against old defeater Vladimir Nikitin of Russia – who was very fortunate to win his last 16 clash with Thai fighter Chatchai Butdee.

Next up for Ireland is defending Olympic lightweight champion Katie Taylor who gets her campaign underway – and also looks to secure a medal – tomorrow at 15:00 Irish time against experienced Finn Mira Potkonen.

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: [email protected]