08 August 2008 – by Mark Doyle
Irelands five-strong contingent have fared well in Fridays draw for the Olympics.
Heavy-hitting middleweight prospect Darren Sutherland and classy light-flyweight Paddy Barnes have both seen their respective draws open up for them after being afforded first-round byes.
Sutherlands path to the semis is relatively clear, with not one of Matvei Korobov, Bakhtiyar Artayev or Emilio Correa Bayeux standing in his way. However, should he progress through his last-16 clash with Nabil Kassel, Sutherland is likely to come up against World Championship silver medallist Alfonso Blanco Parra.
Barnes, meanwhile, will set out against Jose Luis Meza of Ecuador next week safe in the knowledge that he cannot meet the man who ended his world championship hopes, Chinas Shiming Zou, until the last four.
Team captain Kenneth Egan, meanwhile, will kick off his bid for light-heavyweight gold with a bout against Julius Jackson of the Virgin Islands. The Dubliner will no doubt be boosted, too, by the fact that he has been kept away from most of his main rivals.
Indeed, Uzbek Abbos Atoev and Tajikistans Dzhakhon Kurbanov have been paired together, while Russian Artur Beterbiev and Lithuanian Daugirdas Semiotas are also in the opposite half of the draw to Egan.
Bantamweight John Joe Nevin and light-welterweight John Joe Joyce will begin against Algerian Abdelhalim Ourradi and Hungarys Gyula respectively, opponents that the Irish duo will be quietly confident of beating.
However, the dangerous Mongolian, Enkhbat Badar-Uugan, is a likely opponent for Nevin in the last 16.
The news is more positive for Joyce, though, as Kazakh Serik Sapiyev, Russian Gennady Kovalev and Thai Manus Boonjumnong are all in the top half of the draw.
However, Joyce’s opener is against Gyula Kate, the Hungarian who defeated in Chicago last November.
Beijing Olympics Draw:
Sat August 9
Kenny Egan v Julius Jackson (ISV) 8:30 (Irish Time)
Sun August 10
John Joe Joyce v Gyula Kate (HUN) 7:30
Tues August 12
John Joe Nevin v Abdelhalim Ourradi (ALG) 14:30
Sat August 16
Paddy Barnes v Jose Luis Meza (ECU) TBC
Darren Sutherland v Nabil Kassel (ALG) TBC