10 April 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Ken Egan, Darren Sutherland and John Joe Joyce all remain in contention for a place in Olympics after progressing to the semi-finals of their respective weight classes in the final qualifier for European boxers, in Athens, Greece.
Light-heavyweight Egan will meet Germany’s Gottlieb Wess in the semi-finals on Friday after claiming a comfortable 13-4 victory over Dutchman Daniel Kool in the last eight. Egan must progress to the final to secure a place in this summers Games.
However, heavily-fancied middleweight Sutherland is not yet in the last-chance saloon. His quarter-final victory over Serb Zoran Mitrovic (38-17) means that even if he fails to qualify for the final, he will still have a chance of making the Olympics in a box-off between the losing semi-finalists in the 75Kg division.
Still, Sutherland will doubtless be going all out for victory in his last-four showdown with Victor Cotiujanschii on Friday.
Meanwhile, light-welterweight John Joe Joyce also remains in the running after edging out Greeces Gkevorgk Gkalstian on the countback system after the pair had finished level on 18 points apiece after four pulsating rounds.
Joyce, who saw his cousin, featherweight David Oliver, drop a 19-17 decision to Swede Bashir Hassan in an epic quarter-final on Wednesday, took the decision by a margin of 41-37.
64Kg: John Joe Joyce (Ireland) v Sipahi Harun (Germany)
75Kg: Darren Sutherland (Ireland) v Victor Cotiujanschii (Moldova)
81Kg: Ken Egan (Ireland) v Gottlieb Wess (Germany)
51Kg: Conor Ahern (Ireland) lost to Bato – munko Vankeyeu (Belarus) 12-20
57Kg: David Oliver Joyce (Ireland) lost to Bashir Hassan (Sweden) 17-19
64Kg: John Joe Joyce (Ireland) beat Gkevorgk Gkalstian (Greece) 18-18 C/B 41-37
75Kg: Darren Sutherland (Ireland) beat Zoran Mitrovic (Serbia) 38-17
81Kg: Ken Egan (Ireland) beat Daniel Kool (Holland) 13-4