Michael Gallagher was beaten by Cuba’s Yordan Hernandez in the semi-finals of the Olympic Youth Games in China today.
The current AIBA World Youth champion earned a unanimous decision (30-27,30-27,30-27) over the Donegal heavyweight in Nanjing.
Gallagher, who really put it up to the talented Cuban throughout the three rounds this afternoon, will now meet Korea’s Kim Jin-Nyong in the box-off for bronze tomorrow.
Earlier today, Ciara Ginty guaranteed Irish boxing at least a silver medal at the Games.
The 2013 AIBA World Junior champion beat Turkey’s Esra Yildiz on a majority decision to reach lightweight final.
The final scores read 39-37,38-38,39-37 to the first Irish boxer to claim a medal at this level since Ryan Burnett won light-fly gold at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore.
The Geesala BC ace, the 2013 AIBA World Female Junior Boxer of the Year, will now face current AIBA World Youth champion Jajara Gonzalez of the USA for gold on Tuesday morning (Irish time) after becoming the first Irish female boxer to reach an Olympic final besides Katie Taylor – both are lightweights – who won 60kg gold at the full Olympics in 2012 in London.
Cork middleweight Christina Desmond, a silver medallist at the 2013 World Youth Championships, was beaten on a unanimous decision by Chen Nien Chin of Chinese Taipei this morning.
The final scores read 40-35,40-36,40-34 against the Macroom BC southpaw, who, as always, gave it 100% against a very tough opponent.
Desmond and Australia’s Caitlin Parker will now meet in the bronze medal box-off tomorrow.
Irish team manager Stephen Connolly praised the performances of Ginty and Desmond today, adding that Irish coach Billy McClean is doing a fantastic job with Ireland’s three boxers in Nanjing. He also hailed the influence of Irish coach Gerry Storey on Irish women’s boxing on another historic day for the sport.
“Ciara was outstanding today. She boxed very well behind her jab and it was a fantastic victory. Christina boxed very well also against a tough opponent and gave it absolutely everything, as did all our boxers today, he said.
“I thought that Michael won the first round against a very good Cuban boxer and the second could have gone either way. In fairness, the Cuban lad won the third, but it was a very good performance from Michael.
“Christina and Michael now have bronze medal box-offs and Ciara has the final on Tuesday. It’s going to be a big two days for the squad.”
Youths Olympics Nanjing, China
F60kg Ciara Ginty (Ireland) beat Monica Floridia (Italy) 3-0
M91kg Michael Gallagher (Ireland) beat Maksim Kazlou (Belarus) 3-0
F60kg Ciara Ginty (Ireland) beat Esra Yildiz (Turkey) 2-0
F75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) lost to Chen Nien Chin (Chinese Taipei) 0-3
M91kg Michael Gallagher (Ireland) lost to Yordan Hernandez (Cuba) 0-3
Bronze medal Box-off
F75kg Christina Desmond (Ireland) v Caitlin Parker (Australia) 8:15am)
M91kg Michael Gallagher (Ireland) v Kim Jin-Nyong (Korea) (2:15pm)
F60kg Ciara Ginty (Ireland) v Jajara Gonzalez (USA) (9:45am)
(Estimated times (Irish) apply. Nanjing is seven hours ahead of Ireland)
60kg Ciara Ginty (Geesala) (Silver, at least)
75kg Christina Desmond (Macroom)
91kg Michael Gallagher (Finn Valley)
Team Manager: Stephen Connelly
Coach: Billy McClean