IABA Press Officer Bernard O’Neill
Irish 2012 Olympian Michael Conlan gave a good indication of the high standard he is operating at when he admitted that he was slightly disappointed with his performance against the brave challenge of Shane Roche in last night’s Elite Championships flyweight semi-final.
It’s the type of disappointment that 99.9999% of boxers would gladly live with, as Conlan, officially ranked 14th in the world, won 28-12 and forced Roche, who never stopped coming forward throughout, into two standing counts in the final round.
Meanwhile, while Conlan’s passage to within three, three minute rounds of becoming the “Lord of the Fly’s” for the second season running was fairly straightforward, his fellow Irish Olympians John Joe Nevin and Darren O’Neill were dragged right down to the departure lounge and within sight of the exit sign by the men from the Holy Trinity BC in Belfast, Sean McComb and Conrad Cummings.
Nevin, who is aiming for his fourth Irish bantamweight title on-the-trot, edged a 13-12 decision over McComb.
McComb was level 3-3 with the two-time World medalist at the end of the first, and took a 7-6 lead into the third.
McComb picked off another two shots in the third, but Nevin, ranked 4th in the world, responded immediately with two of his own. Nevin then detonated a fine uppercut and dropped the Ulster man with a sweeping left hook but then received a public warning for a low blow with seconds remaining.
O’Neill beat Cummings 4-3 in the 2011 semi-final and last night’s encounter was once against hanging in the balance going down the final stretch, the Kilkenny southpaw turning in a fine third round to advance to the middleweight final.
Michael McDonagh earned a solid 11-5 decision over 2010 European bronze medalist Tyrone McCullagh, but Ross Hickey was involved in a real battle with Niall Murray before emerging with a two point winning margin.
Joe Ward, who turned 18 in late October, eased to within one win of claiming his second Elite title in succession with a 17-4 win over Davey Joe Joyce, who received two public warnings for dropping his head in the second and third rounds.
Ward’s tactics of remaining within striking range of his opponent may look like a high risk strategy given the type of ordnance whizzing around the heads of the combatants in his division. However, the Moate BC southpaw usually responds with two shots of his own to every one he receives.
Tommy McCarthy and Con Sheehan also advanced last night, McCarthy, a two-time Elite finalist, beating Stephen Ward, and Sheehan, who is aiming for his 5th Elite crown at two different weights convincingly beating Ward’s Moate BC team-mate Ken Okungbowa.
Defending welterweight champion Adam Nolan gave another fine display of composed boxing last evening, particularly as he was in against the vastly experienced Willie McLaughlin. Nolan, however, had five points to spare when the final bell tolled on an exciting 69Kg clash.
Hugh Myres claimed the first victory of the evening from an exciting light-flyweight contest with Evan Metcalfe.
The Ryston BC man laid the platform for this win with a fine first round, finding the target with some great rights throughout the opening frame to command a 7-3.
Myres, despite Metcalfe’s constant pressure, stretched that lead to 13-6 by the end of the second and added to his tally in the third to claim a 23-15 win.
Myres will now meet defending champion Paddy Barnes in next Friday’s 49Kg final.
Meantime, the remaining semi-finals will be decided tonight. Boxing begins at 7pm.
2012 Elite Championships National Stadium Dublin
Friday January 27th S/Finals (7pm)
49Kg: Hugh Myres (Ryston) beat Evan Metcalfe (Crumlin) 23-15
52Kg: Michael Conlan (St John Bosco) beat Shane Roche (Corinthians) 28-12
56Kg: John Joe Nevin (Cavan) beat Sean McComb (Holy Trinity) 13-12
60Kg: Michael McDonagh (St Marys) beat Tyrone McCullagh (Holy Family GG) 11-5
64Kg: Ross Hickey (Grangecon) beat Niall Murray (Gorey) 15-12
69Kg: Adam Nolan (Bray) beat Willie McLaughlin (Illies GG) 17-12
75Kg: Darren O’Neill (Paulstown) beat Conrad Cummings (Holy Trinity) 13-10
81Kg: Joe Ward (Moate) beat David Joe Joyce (Ballinacargy) 17-4
91Kg: Tommy McCarthy (Oliver Plunkett) beat Stephen Ward (Monkstown) 16-11
91+Kg: Con Sheehan (Clonmel) beat Ken Okungbowa (Moate) 17-8