Irish boxers close to Olympic qualification

A pretty weekend for the Irish in Baku as the AIBA World Championships ended week one. Four wins and one loss today as Roy Sheehan and Con Sheehan, Joe Ward and Michael Conlan all reached the last 16.

Mayo’s European light welterweight champion, Ray Moylette, alas, departed these championships suffering a heavy defeat (19-7) against the 2010 Commonwealth Games titleholder, India’s Manoj Kumar earlier in the day.

Kumar was 5-3 up as round one ended, 12-4 by end of the second and a distressed Moylette, from Islandeady, looked out of sorts against one of the most improved of the strong Indian team at these championships.

Kildare’s Roy Sheehan who boxes out of the St Michael’s Athy club today defeated Borna Katalinic of Croatia., 21-17 in the morning session, a repeat of his 2005 AIBA Championship win against the Croatian and now faces off against the Lithuanian, Egidijus Kavaliaskas on Tuesday.

Con Sheehan from the Clonmel BC stopped his opponent, Faruth Kalonov of Tajikstan when the referee stopped the contest in round two. His opponent, in their Super Heavyweight bout , had by then already taken two standing counts when a halt was called to proceedings and Sheehan was well on top 22-4 at the time.

Next up for the Tipp man is the two time AIBA World Champ and 2008 Olympic Gold medallist, Roberto Cammerelle from Italy. The toughest fight of Sheehan’s career to date in Tuesday’s last 16. The Italian though has not been as impressive in recent months and one cannot rule out a shock Irish victory here.

Moate’s Joe Ward is one of Ireland’s leading hopes for a medal in these championships and he was in fine form today as he overwhelmed his Tajikstan opponent, Dilovarsho Abdurakhmanov 22-4. The 17 years old from Westmeath now gloves up against Iranian Ehsan Rouzbahani in the next round also on Tuesday.

Another youngster, St John’s Bosco, fighter .Michael Conlan had his second win at the Championships with a narrow, but deserved, 18-17 decision over Olzhas Sattibayev of Kazakhstan . Conlan led 7-4 and 13-11 going into the third. The Belfast boxer is certainly a great hope for the future.

Remember these Championships also serve as a Qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympic Games and under the AIBA qualifying criteria, If Roy Sheehan, Ward and Conlan win Tuesday they will qualify for the 2012 Olympics. Tipperary’s Con Sheehan though needs to reach the semi-finals as heavyweights and super-heavyweight must reach the last four to ‘book’ their place in the London Games. That of course also applies to Kenny Egan should he progress to that stage.

Boxers reaching the quarter-finals in weight categories from light-flyweight to light-heavyweight will automatically secure an Olympic qualification thus Monday and Tuesday will be “crucial” days in the lives of these boxers.

Next week’s bouts:

October 3rd (last 32)

49Kg: Paddy Barnes (Holy Family) v Mark Barriga (Philippines)

56Kg: John Joe Nevin (Cavan) v Akhil Kumar (India)

60Kg: David Oliver Joyce (St Michael’s Athy) v Mohammad Khaiber (Afghanistan)

75Kg: Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) v Mohamad Hikal (Egypt)

91Kg: Ken Egan (Neilstown) v Jose Larduet Gomez (Cuba)

October 4th (Last 16)

52Kg: Michael Conlan (Ireland) v Nordine Oubaali (France)

69Kg: Roy Sheehan (St Michael’s Athy) v Egidijus Kavaliauskas (Lithuania)

81Kg: Joe Ward (Moate) v Ehsan Rouzbahani (Iran)

91+Kg: Con Sheehan (Clonmel) v Roberto Cammerelle (Italy)


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