Irish boxers O’Neill and Nevin excel at ExCeL

Irish team captain Darren O’Neill maintained Ireland’s winning start to the Olympic Games with a convincing 15-6 decision over Nigeria’s Muideen Olalekan Akanji at the ExCel Centre in London on Saturday.

The Kilkenny southpaw edged the first 4-3, but ran away with the second, blasting in a left/right combo at the start of the frame en route to claiming the stanza 8-2 and laying the platform for a comfortable victory from a hard-punching encounter with the tall and rangy African.

Germany’s Stefan Haertel, a gold medal winner at the 2012 Chemistry Cup in Halle, Germany, now awaits in the last-16 on August 2nd.

Haertel hammered out an 18-10 verdict over Enrique Collazo of Puerto Rico yesterday.

The German middleweight lost 20-9 to the late Darren Sutherland, a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Olympics, at the 2008 EU Championships in Poland.

Earlier on Saturday , John Joe Nevin got Ireland’s campaign off to a flying start with a landslide win over Denmark’s Dennis Villy Ceylan.

The Cavan BC bantamweight dominated all three rounds to earn a 21-6 verdict.

He’ll now meet Kazakh southpaw Kanat Abutalipov in the last-16 on August 1st.

Abutalipov beat Syria’s Wessam Slamana in the corresponding bout.

The Kazakh bantamweight lost 15-2 to Nevin in the semi-finals of the 2009 AIBA President’s Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan.

He did, however, beat current AIBA World champion, Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez, on a countback following a 17-17 tie in the 2012 President’s Cup final in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Nevin, appearing in successive Olympiads, was always in control of today’s contest, two big rights near the end of the first securing a 5-2 lead.

The Mullingar man, repeatedly dropping home rights as Ceylan was loading up lefts, stretched that advantage to 13-4 by the end of the second, before adding another eight points to his total in the third.

“The tactics from Billy and Zuar worked very well. You always want to pull on the green jersey and make a winning start for the team, ” said Nevin.

“Two wins was always the target today and John and Darren boxed really well and we’re delighted to get off to a winning start,” added Irish team manager Des Donnelly.

Head coach Billy Walsh and Zuar Antia were working Ireland’s corner this afternoon.

Adam Nolan will be aiming to make it three in-a-row on Sunday night, which begins around 8.30pm.

The Bray BC southpaw is in against Carlos Sanchez Estacio (Ecuador) in the welterweight class.

2012 Olympic Games

.July 28th – Last 32 (1.30pm session)

56kg – Bantamweight – John Joe Nevin (Ireland) beat Dennis Villy Ceylan (Denmark) 21-6

75kg – Middleweight – Darren O’Neill (Ireland) beat Muideen Olalekan Akanji (Nigeria) 15-6

July 29th – Last 32 (8.30pm session)

69kg – Welterweight – Adam Nolan (Ireland) v Carlos Sanchez Estacio (Ecuador)


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